A parent's prayer

On the eve of the Baptism of the Lord, here is a prayer for parents:

Dear God, I need to talk to you for a minute about these kids you gave me. First of all, let me make this clear. I adore them. They amaze me, a million different times throughout each day. They are clearly your creation and not my own. And for this, I am thankful. I could have never come up with something this wonderful, even if you had asked me to write out what I had in mind on paper before they were born. But, I want you to know that I am scared. The world looks to me, as their parent, to teach them and protect them, raising them to be successful adults. I wonder why, then, must the world work against me on every step?

As a little girl, my precious daughter – well, actually, she is Your precious daughter – happily skipping through her day, treasuring each moment and believing anything was possible. But somewhere along the way to being a teenager, she lost her joy. Now, her days are filled with paralyzing self doubt and deceptive invitations to the path of acceptance. My adorable son, who once started each day by holding my face in his hands just to tell me he loved me, can no longer look me in the eye. He tries to hide behind walls built over time, convinced that I will never understand him. But I see through to his breaking heart, and mine breaks right along with his. It always has. Always will. These are your children. And they are perfect. How can I get them to see that? How can I protect them from the false expectations of their peers, who are all struggling to find their way just the same? How can I prove to them that they were designed to stand out, rather than to fit in?

 Sometimes, I watch them sleeping and this is my silent prayer for them: Hold them in your arms. Always. Reveal yourself to them often, proving that they are never alone. Help them to be strong enough to make a difference; to change the lives of others rather than changing who they are to fit in. Make their paths straight before them, just as you promised to do, and then give them the strength to follow. The decisions they make today can alter the path of the rest of their lives. Please help them to better understand this, and protect them when the time arrives to make those choices. Show them that when I persist at them, that it is to protect them, to help them; not to prevent them from having fun, but rather to keep them from crossing lines long before they are ready. Help them understand that once you cross those lines, there is no going back to being a kid.

Help them never to doubt you, especially when others cause them to question their beliefs. How can they ever find their true value if they believe they were an accident or grew from the ground or from monkeys of some sort? Their very existence proves that You are real, so please comfort them and give them your answers long before they need them. I pray these same things for their future spouses and children. Protect their future and create it in a way that brings them all closer together and to you in the end.