Sandcastles of Parenting

Parenting is like building sandcastles when the tide is rising.  It requires resilience. Perseverance.  Determination.

When my boys were little we’d often take trips to the beach – the perfect escape for a mom and two boys!

Almost as soon as we hit the sand, the boys would take off like a rocket towards the water –  dropping their towels and bags as they raced towards the shoreline. Galloping and shouting they would jump the waves and splash with joy as they plunged into the ocean.

Building sandcastles was always a highlight of our time at the beach!


Eagerly they would assign duties for building their sandcastle. One would run to the ocean to fill his bucket with water and the other would start bulldozing and excavating the sand for the foundation.

In perfect harmony, one would dredge, scoop, and shovel through the sand, while the other began bailing water to make their moat.  Gradually a “castle” would emerge as they packed the sand and formed the walls using sand and molds. Before long they would adorn their castle with shells and a homemade flag made with a straw and leftover lunch napkin.

Those were precious times!

Parenting is much like the building of those sandcastles.  In perfect harmony, we naturally build up our children with unconditional love and eagerly, we attempt mold them into the perfect little people.

We tell them they are strong and capable.

We highlight their victories and pass off their failed attempts as heroic efforts.

As parents, our children are champions, conquerors, and stars! We see the end result of their struggles and cheer them on when life gets hard.

And life does get hard.

Like our times at the beach…. when my sons discovered the tide changes. No matter how hard they tried to protect their sandcastle, the tide swept it away like a thief that attacked in broad daylight.  With each wave, a little more of the sandcastle crumbled and washed away. Disappointment replaced exhilaration.

sand-castle-washed away

Try as we may as parents, more often than we’d like, the tide of life changes and it threatens to wash away what we’ve invested and built into our children’s lives. 

We tell them they’re superheroes and classmates call them nerds.

We tell them God is in control and has them in their hands, and a friend dies.

We cheer them on when they finally get to first base and they are told to sit the bench.

Life’s challenges can threaten our unyielding efforts and the well-being of our children.

No matter how many times my boys would visit the beach, build a sandcastle and have the tide wash their castle away, their enthusiasm never waned.  Every visit was the same.  Upon hitting the sand, the boys would leap for joy and sprint towards the shoreline and within minutes their sandcastle began to emerge.

I admired their perseverance, their enthusiasm, and their determination.  The tide didn’t stop their resolve to build sandcastles, they just learned to build them farther away from the shoreline.

The same principle applies to parenting.  The tides come, threatening to destroy all we’ve built up in our children.

We cannot control the tides, their friends, or the influences in their lives, but we can pray.

And we can trust that God, who made our children, is vastly interested in every detail. He is there in the tides, the challenging times, walking them through. And those difficult times, he uses them to mold his own beautiful creation in each of our children.

We can put our children’s hopes dreams and futures in God’s hands and remember that rough times, like the incoming tide, forces growth and exploration.



A Minute to Meditate

1 Peter 5:7 says,

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psst….I don’t know any human being that wants all my anxiety.  Do you?

He knows –

Do you remember the song that we used to sing as children, “He’s got the whole world in his hands?” There is a comfort in that.  I don’t know the theological explanation for difficult times but I know that God is walking through them with us.  He is working to make something good out of it – as crazy as that may seem sometimes.

God hasn’t forgotten you or your children for one moment or your concerns.  He’s got you.  That requires trust.  Just like parenting.

Take a minute to meditate on the depth of God’s love for you – that He would want you to cast all your concerns on Him!  


6 thoughts on “Sandcastles of Parenting

  1. Thank you for the encouragement; as my children move toward puberty, I find myself feeling nervous with knowing they will be moving toward the best of their own drum. Vacillating between holding onto the reins and loosening as they fight for their independence but standing in the shadows to pick them up if they fall.

  2. Char, I thought this was perfectly timed as I’m now focusing on finding the right school for my son’s next step on the educational ladder. Truth is I’ve been overwhelmed with the options (or lack of them) but reading your words reminded me that what will really see him through this next phase is prayer. If I commit to being devoted to prayer on his behalf that can make all the difference in the world. Thanks for helping me to see that.
    Blessings to you!

    • Thanks Marva,
      What a blessing to have a mom that heartfully prays for her son!! The Lord will lead you I’m sure… I remember those days well and we made what we felt the Lord showed us was the best choice for our son. Will lift you up in prayer!

  3. Love this Char…we can trust that God, who made our children, is vastly interested in every detail. He is there in the tides, the challenging times, walking them through. And those difficult times, he uses them to mold his own beautiful creation in each of our children. How many times I’ve had to do just that, in the midst of life not going as planned. So grateful to see how God’s grace covers so much, and His love for our children is greater than ours…unfathomable!

    • I am reminded of Samuel in the bible. His mother and father had so little to do with his parenting and handed him over to Eli who was a horrible parent. Yet, God intervened and Samuel ended up being a godly man – regardless of his environment. God is intimately involved and his grace does cover our children! Thanks for stopping by Crystal!

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