Parent Devotion: Of Fat Bombs and F-Bombs
You know your kids might think there’s something wrong with your life when they find you snarfing “fat bombs” half an hour before bedtime.
My wife and I had decided to start the new year with a nutrition program called the Ketogenic Diet. It’s basically next to zero carbs and insane amounts of fat, and it’s supposed to get your body to burn fat for energy. So we found ourselves awash in fatty foods—heaps of butter on everything, cream cheese by the tub, and enough mayo to gag a whale. Eating that much fat every day is something of a challenge, so we quickly discovered “fat bombs,” an easier (and relatively tolerable) way to consume enough fat to meet our daily requirements.
It took less than a week for skeptical (and slightly disgusted) stares to start firing our way, evidence of the emotional anxiety caused by having parents who literally stuff fat bombs into their faces every night.
Our kids wondered, “What is driving you to this extreme diet?”
We have two kids in college. Both are smart (our son’s getting his microbiology Ph.D. and our daughter is a geophysical engineering major). They both chose, willingly, to spend their Christmas vacation with us as a family (a chance to go to Iceland didn’t hurt). And they’re both the kind of young adults that make their parents proud.
Except for their social network feeds.
We’ve never used “colorful” language in our home. But our two college-aged “angels” have both taken to sprinkling F-bombs into their public posts. Normally, I try to “like” or comment on most of their posts. But when I see that word, I find it hard to be supportive. I write Christian books for a living, after all. What’s a parent to do?
It’s different for every parent, but at some point we all have to let our kids make their own decisions. College is perhaps the most significant time when this happens. We can’t control what they do or say anymore. We can’t tell them what to eat or drink. We can’t stop them from hanging out with questionable people or prevent them from making poor choices.
It’s more or less exactly what God goes through with us. We may be 25+ years removed from college days ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less inclined to make questionable decisions or say things we might later regret.
Or eat questionable things called “fat bombs.”
Our judgments (or even mild condemnations) won’t always change our kids’ minds. Our finger wagging at their F-bombs (both the literal and the figurative ones) aren’t going to make them become God’s pure and perfect angels. Letting go means accepting the truth that real love knows no limits. God’s love for us knows no limits (see 1 Corinthians 13:7), and our love for our kids should be limitless, too.
Digging Deeper: Reflection and Challenge
Journal prompt: What’s something your college-aged child is doing now that you wish they wouldn’t? Describe that behavior(s) on paper, and then write about why it bothers you.
Challenge: Find a photo of yourself during your early college-aged days. Take a moment to think about your life at that age. What did you spend your time doing? What motivated you? What bothered you? What kind of a person would others describe you as?
After spending a few moments reflecting on your former self, what kind of advice would you give your younger you? Would it have helped to hear those words? Why or why not?
Read and reflect on Psalm 139.
Consider sending that photo of yourself to your child, along with a brief note. Tell your child something along these lines: “I came across this photo and remembered what it was like to be your age. I wasn’t always the easiest person to love. But I want you to know that my love for you knows no limits.”
About The Author
Written by Jeff White, author of the new best-selling Friends With God Story Bible and the upcoming devotional book, Being a Friend of God: Discovering How God Views You. He’s been married to Amy, a high school English teacher, for almost 28 years. They’re the parents of two college-aged kids, as well as a non-accidental 8-year-old.