The college sophomore (our baby) came home after her first full year on campus a little more, maybe a lot more, grown up.

After a year we have become more like her roommates than parents. There is both good and bad in that. For the most part, the bad shows up in forgotten house rules like dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, not the sink. Sonic straw wrappers go in the trash, not in the Jeep console or floorboard and you don’t park the Jeep in the garage at the end of the night if the gas gauge is glowing orange.

On the bright side of coming home for the summer — at least she brought home a three-legged cat from Houston and not a boy. “God is good” is not just a theory for me, it’s truth and the three-legged cat proves it.

I don’t know what, “It’s more art than science” really means but I think it applies to parenting. Besides following Jesus, being a dad is the hardest job I’ve got and raising girls is even harder than that (we have 2 boys and 2 girls, so you need to listen to me, after all, 4 kids makes me a professional).

As I look back at our parenting (mis)adventures, I’d like to have a couple of do overs in the dad department. I remember when the oldest daughter, who is full of charisma, a hard worker, bright, witty and smart like her mother (has her dad’s good looks) was 16. I think we called her strong willed, she blew it more than once, and so we finally gave her driver’s license back to the state as punishment, which meant she was done driving until she was 18. I wouldn’t do that again.

There’s truth in Ephesians 6:4 that as parents we should not provoke our kids to anger by the way we treat them. What I’m saying is most things blow over and we should wag more and bark less.

I’d like to be a little more like the dad in Luke 15. I’d give the kids their share of the family inheritance and hope for the best, keep my eye on the road, wait for them to return home and then throw a party.

All of our kids are grown up and all are contributing members of society (the college sophomore is working on it). The oldest daughter has done well, extremely successful professionally and personally and it is not because she lost her driver’s license at 16 if you know what I mean.

I tell the Blonde sometimes when the empty nest is quiet and it’s just us on the couch watching reruns of The Rockford Files, let’s have another baby? She says she is too old. See, I told you, God is good.

If my only problem as a dad is dishes in the sink and Sonic straw wrappers in the console and floorboard of the Jeep I don’t have any problems. He told me to tell you that.