The second thing on my mind about Friday's day of fasting is this matter of a check-up, a little moment of reckoning, where my handling of parental authority is concerned.
Becoming a parent is a little bit like becoming a child all over again, or at least it was for me. There's the newness, the excitement, the ease in recognizing the sacredness of it all. But there is also the cluelessness, the hardheadedess, the perfectionism, the heeding of any voice that sounds remotely authoritative. There is so much we have to learn, especially if we did not spend our youth caring for an assortment of babies and children.
Learners though we must be, parents also have authority.
Yesterday as I was walking I witnessed a doe carefully checking out the road before she and her fawn quickly shot across it to the woods on the opposite side. Somehow, the intelligent instinct she demonstrated reminded me of that fact that holy authority must not only lead, but follow. The parent out in front is all the child sees, but that parent must operate not only by knowledge, wisdom and that famous parental "instinct," but also by consciously following the grace of God, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the example of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that worldly leaders lord it over their subjects, but that it must not be that way with His followers. We lord it over others when we mistake ourselves as the ultimate and others as essentially unequal to us.
So in this fast I feel called to lay my call of authority in my children's lives down before God, to remember again that I follow Him, that He (not my comfort or my ego) is my ultimate desire for myself and for them. I can do what I can do, and I cannot do what I cannot do. And 99.9% of the time, I'm a bit murky on exactly what falls into which of those two categories. That's why I must follow.