Where I live, today was the first day of school.
Our youngest started kindergarten…he hopped on that big, yellow school bus for the first time in his life like a champ! My daughter was right behind him…she was on to fourth grade.
Overall, it’s a big transition for us. There are no longer any non-school agers living in our home. No more “babies.”
Colton getting on that bus was a sharp reminder that time is always marching forward, but my thoughts today turned towards the delicate balance we all have as parents.
I’m talking about the balance between holding on and letting go.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not time for us to send him out to get a job and an apartment or anything, but it’s time we give him a little bit of space…a little room to grow. It’s time for us to let go of just a few things. The question is, how many and how much?
It’s an easier question to answer when they are five. But what about when they’re ten? Thirteen? Seventeen?
I really struggle here when it comes to my daughter. She’s our oldest…our first born! While she is certainly still our “little girl,” she has her eyes on new things. The TV shows she’s interested in aren’t all animated. The books she likes to read have long, wordy chapters, not illustrated pages. The toys she wants aren’t stuffed. She’s asking harder questions. And, occasionally, she’s looking for a little space of her own…a little independence.
It’s so tempting to hover, though. To do everything for them. To keep a watchful eye over every step they take, every word they speak.
So, I struggle with this balance of when to hold on and when to let go.
You know, I’m constantly reminded of this quote by Reggie Joiner, founder and CEO of Orange:
“You are not raising kids, you are raising adults.”
I try to keep in the forefront of my mind that the end result of all of this, this…parenting…is an adult.
They aren’t kids forever.
And so little by little, as hard as it is, I’m learning how to let go.
I wish I were about to give you some magic formula to succeed at it. A five-step process. An app. Anything.
But, I’m not.
I can tell you, though, that “letting go” isn’t leaving.
Sometimes we think it is. Sometimes we think that letting go…even just a little bit… means we are turning our backs on our kids or leaving them hanging. But that isn’t true at all.
Letting go is just giving them the space they need to learn and to grow and to become the person that God created them to be.
We aren’t raising kids; we’re raising adults.
Today I’m praying for all of you who, like me, are struggling with the balance of holding on and letting go.
I know it’s hard, and I’m with you.
I'd like to hear from you! How do you balance holding on and letting go? You can leave a comment by clicking here.