Marci Seither and her husband owned a sawmill in Northern California. A customer hired them to remove a huge tree from the spot where their new home would be built. The homeowners thought it a shame to lose such a beautiful tree and planned to recycle the lumber by using it in the house’s construction.
Once the tree was cut down, however, they discovered that the wood was too weak to be used. The tree rings were too far apart. Forests in that area of the country had received years of soaking rain and ample sunshine. This particular tree had grown big and lush … but it had little inner strength.
Tight rings are the result of stress the tree endures in seasons of heat and drought, lean years where the tree has to dig its roots deeper into the soil for nourishment.
For Marci’s family, tight tree rings became a metaphor. When one of her sons was deployed to Afghanistan, she told her husband, “This’ll be a tight-ring year.”
When another of her six children made poor decisions, she knew she was in for a season of tight tree rings, and she’d have to dig her roots deeper into her faith in Christ.
One season of tight tree rings every parent will face is the empty nest. Jean and I are on the verge of entering that season of life right now. Trent and Troy will soon be launching into their futures, and we want to help them launch well. I’m sure you want the same for your kids.
The number-one thing we have to be mindful of is that we are stewards of our children, not their owners. Knowing that our kids belong to the Lord influences our goals and aspirations for them. It’s also harder to let go of something we feel we own versus something over which we’re exercising temporary stewardship.
If you’re on the verge of an empty nest, then you’re going to want to join us for our radio program “Preparing for the Empty Nest Years” on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. We’ll help you handle your children leaving home in a way that’s positive for them and for you.
Our guest Marci Seither will prepare you for what’s ahead. She has great advice for making this transition smooth for you, for helping siblings cope with the loss of a brother or sister who’s moving out, and for deciding how to handle children who have moved out and want to return home.
We’ll be talking about Marci’s book Empty Nest: Strategies to Help Your Kids Take Flight, which is available to you today for a gift of any amount (check our website for details).