“Don’t go chasing waterfalls,
Please stick to the rivers and lakes that you’re used to.
I know you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
But I think you’re moving too fast.” recorded by TLC
“Waterfalls” is one of my favorite songs. I know that sounds strange for a mother and grandmother, but its message is haunting, true and needs to be heard.
The song opens with a mother gazing out a window at her son. She realizes her helplessness at reaching him, to turn him away from his chosen path. He is chasing the fast life of drugs, sex and violence. He’s looking for the good life and can’t see where it will end. She pleads with him to stick close to home, to remain with the familiar instead of chasing an elusive dream. He doesn’t listen and dies.
Helpless, hopeless moms still look out windows watching taillights fade in the evening shadows, praying their children come home safe. Hoping their son or daughter makes good choices.
Choices—there is the rub. Ultimately our loved ones make the choices—right or wrong. We, hopefully, have instilled basic moral values, of “please and thank you.” There is a scripture in Proverbs that says to” train up a child in the way he should go, and when he’s old he will not turn from it.” How do we do that?
We do it by living our values—we walk the talk. If we want our children to be kind, then we must treat them kindly and with respect. If we want them to work hard, then we need to demonstrate a balanced work ethic designed to teach the value in having a job to provide for the family. We steer our children in their interests and natural giftedness.
But, having done all the “right” things as a parent, the choice ultimately belongs to our loved ones. Sometimes they choose foolishly and the consequences are far-reaching and long lasting—even fatal. We are there to stand beside them, to love them through that moment and pray them through the next. Allowing your loved one the space to make decisions is a vulnerable place to be.
“Don’t go chasing waterfalls…”