The invitations and announcements have begun to reach me: graduations, showers, new drivers, weddings, new baby, the list goes on and on. Whether you are watching your Facebook feed, inbox or mailbox, it seems every day someone is taking a step or maybe even a leap in a new direction. And that’s just the good news, which is all I want to talk about right now.
All those bits of news and party invitations remind me that in life parents spend most of our child’s life learning to let go of them. I am often asked,” how do you let go?” I answer, in all truth, “It’s hard, but you have to do it.” And then I pontificate. No, I don’t; that’s not nice or helpful.
I think the best way to prepare to let go is to always know that it is going to happen. And to start early and often letting them go in small ways. Teach your children how to make decisions and let poor decisions stand along with the natural consequences. Don’t rescue them. Allow them to be accountable to others. Help your children learn from experience.
When my children were growing up they made major life choices that were not always what my husband and I would have liked for them. But it is their life to discern and plan and lead, not ours. I would be foolish to think it won’t happen again. In letting our children go, we encourage them to ask God for his guidance, to discuss it with us and then decide what happens next.
Sometimes there is disappointment when we let go because the choice made is so contrary to what we think is best. Your child may fall or fail; it’s okay. Far better they fall over small choices under your roof then major ones when they are no longer in your daily care.
I practiced letting my children go over and over. In kindergarten when he said, on day two, “I can go by myself, Mommy”; after the surgery when she really didn’t want that pain medicine and promptly threw it up all over the nurse who insisted; when he pulled out of the driveway headed to NYC and she got on a plane to live in Australia for a year.
It’s hard to let them go, but if we don’t they will never become who God calls them to be.
How do you practice letting go with your children?
Copyright 2016 Deanna Bartalini