The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

November 25, 2013

Role Reversal

By Doug Creamer
CNHI

Monday, November 25, 2013 — When we are growing up as children, life is filled with fun. What’s there to worry about? Kids have the luxury of playing all day. Life is simple. Children eat, sleep and spend every waking hour in fun-filled fantasy worlds of their own creation or what they discover through reading a good book.

During this time of life parents have the role of worry. Parents worry about how they will feed and clothe their kids. They worry about health issues for their children. Do they just have sniffles or are they dealing with an infection? Will their kids do well in school? Do their children have what they need to learn and grow into responsible young adults?

According to my parents and in-laws, you never stop worrying about your kids. Granted, they grow up, move out, get married, and start families of their own, but parents never really stop worrying about their kids. I think my pastor says it best; parents want their kids to have a good trip through life. So just because a kid is not living under the same roof any longer, it doesn’t mean that a parent stops feeling worried about their children.

I am getting older and I don’t have to look in the mirror to confirm that fact. One of the things that surprises me is the role reversal that occurs with this worrying thing. My parents worry about me, but now I find myself worrying about them. Kids have a hard time realizing that their parents have aged. In my eyes, my parents haven’t really aged. They seem the same to me now as they were when I was a kid. However, if I pull out some family pictures I can see where age has snuck up on them just like it has on me.

When you add health issues to the equation, worry can really slip in. My father has had a couple of out-patient surgeries. “Nothing to worry about …” he says on the phone; easy for him to say. My mother has also had a couple of surgeries in the last couple of years which has given me plenty of things to worry about. My in-laws have also faced some health issues in recent years and yes, my wife and I have worried about them, too.

No one prepared me for this role reversal, this onslaught of worry. I have been fortunate and blessed to have two good parents and two supportive in-laws who have been in very good health until just recently. Don’t misunderstand, the four of them are in pretty good health as I write this column, but I find myself worrying about them more often.

I know that many of you would tell me that we aren’t supposed to worry. I know that the Bible teaches us not to worry, but what are you supposed to do when your parents’ health and well-being is on your mind? While my parents want me to have a good trip through life, I want them to have a good trip, too. I want them to stay healthy and strong. I want to enjoy being with them and having the option of picking up the phone when I need their advice.

The Bible is clear about what we need to do when we face worry. We are supposed to pray instead of worrying. I love prayer and I love talking to my Heavenly Father, but I am not very good about leaving my burdens with Him. When we pray about things we are supposed to leave them in God’s capable hands instead of worrying about them.

I know some people who I would consider professional worriers. They worry about their kids or their parents. What I am beginning to realize is that they are missing out on a wonderful gift from God called peace. When we give our worry over to God completely, He will give us His peace, which surpasses all understanding. We have to agree to stop worrying if we want this wonderful gift. If we sacrifice worry then we get peace.

I know that many of you are parents or grandparents and that it is very natural to worry about your family. I want to encourage you to give up your worry for God’s wonderful peace. It’s not easy, but you have to go to God and pray about the things that worry you and then you have to leave them at His throne. The reward for doing it is God’s peace. I believe God wants all of us to live a life free of worry and surrounded by His peace. It’s a role reversal that’s worth it.

 

Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is  www.dougcreamer.com. Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email doug@dougcreamer.com.