I haven't written in a few weeks and I apologize, but I have been absorbed in a wonderful book, Ronald Greer's "Now That They are Grown: Successfully Parenting Your Adult Children." This book, written with Greer's multi-faceted awareness as counselor, minister and father captures the struggles and joys of parenting adult children. This book contextualizes the unique season of life for parents of young adults in a way that feels both very aware of modern issues, but also has deep truths that must be elemental to all relationships. Topics such as what to do about student debt, the new norms due to marriage of a child, kids coming out and setting limits for how adult children will be welcomed to live with parents are met by Greer with ease and grace.
Since this blog is all about life's transitions, I can think of few more vital and challenging than the changing relationship as parent and child become adult and adult. This book names many of the things parents want to talk about but either can't name or are ashamed to broach the topic in church settings. As someone who is a young adult, I can only attest to the accuracy and poignancy of this book through the experience I have had leading a book group for parents of children ages 17-27.
Over the past few weeks I have met with a group of parents who have been overwhelmingly excited and emphatic about "Now That They Are Grown". We have gathered to discuss how this book can shape their relationships with their children, with their partners and with their friends. It has been an experience of blossoming awareness and some of the parents have already adjusted their actions. As minister to college students and young adults, it has been a pleasure for me to finally have a tool that helps me name the issues that many of my students have named as their number one spiritual issue—their changing relationship with their parents. Through this book group, I have been able to facilitate discussion topics and standards for parents and adult children over issues that matter deeply. This is the first book I have found on the subject that naturally lends itself to group discussion and naturally-flowing lesson plans.
This book is unique in both its important topic as well as the balance in theological attention. Reconciliation, faith, grace and speaking truth in love are all cornerstones of the book. Often these topics can get weighed down, but Greer weaves these concepts throughout in a way that makes the book very readable and conversational in nature. The main problem I have had in presenting a four week session is to make sure that participating parents don't read ahead. It is not uncommon in our sessions for parents to exclaim, "it's so nice not to know I'm the only one struggling with..." or "it's so nice to finally read about this issue." This book has been a delight to read, it has led to great group discussions and I have witnessed relationships between parent and child transformed in the short time that we have been reading—I don't think anyone can ask anything more of a book. Except maybe a sequel.