To the parent of a Cafe 1040 student,
We know the process of kids growing up is challenging for both you and your children. It gets more complicated when children reach their late teens and early twenties and begin to make the final break from home and become fully independent. It's the day we have been both fearing and celebrating as parents for years now.
Now, your kid comes to you with a desire to pursue missions! The announcement of this decision brings an array of emotions. It can be scary to think of being thousands of miles apart and yet exciting to think of what God will do through your kid.
How do you move forward when you struggle with this decision?
We don’t have all the answers, nor do we desire to create simple formulas for this process. But here are some thoughts, gathered from our own experiences as a company full of moms and dads. We will also include some research we used to glean wisdom from the few available sources from others.
1. Affirm your child (no matter the age) in what God is doing in their heart!
We believe that Scripture is clear that the main role of a parent is to prepare their children to serve as an adult in a role that is in line with God’s created purpose for their lives. Give them the love and support you have spent your life pouring into them. You have been preparing them to make good decisions. They need to know that you believe in them.
2. Give them the room to respond completely to God.
Hold tightly to God’s sovereignty over them, and hold loosely to your plans for them. We must go into this season of parenting with our hands wide open to what the Lord will do with our kids. We have to face that even unconsciously, there are things that we may have been wanting to see them do or expectations that we have that maybe does not line up with God's plan for them. Yes, they will make some mistakes, but that is invaluable to growing up and following the truth.
3. Be patient with yourself.
Be patient with yourself and your feelings of anxiety, worry, and grief about your child’s participation in our program. It shows you are human. You love your child and wanting them to be safe, is normal. Pray that you would begin to trust that God is in control. You, as well as your child, are on a faith journey in the process of watching your child grow up and becoming all that God wants them to be.
4. Keep talking with them and ask questions.
As they progress in the program, they will learn more about the details of their time overseas. Find practical ways to get involved in the process without taking away any of your child’s responsibility.
5. Find a community of parents
Reach out to other parents who have or have had kids who have been through our program or currently live overseas. They can be a real source of encouragement.
6. Say good-bye well.
Spend time together in the weeks and months together before a departure. Have fun together as a family. Work to resolve any unfinished conflicts. Affirm each other and share your love with one another.
7. Expect Great Things.
Anticipate you kid will return home with lots of stories, positive experiences, and memories. They will need time to process these experiences and reintegrate back into American society in a healthy way. Be patient with them as they process what they went through. Give them time to readjust back to American life. .
8. Be prepared for your child to return more grown up.
You will be amazed at how your kid will develop mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Affirm and encourage them to continue to walk with God and celebrate this growth in them. Encourage them to take the necessary steps in obedience towards fulfilling their calling.