“The same commitment that leads us to do so well when the children are small (dedication, love, concern, involvement) also causes us to hold too tightly as they grow up. We forget that the process of releasing our children must be a gradual one. With each stage, we let go just a little more. And when the time comes for your grown children to leave the shelter of home, you must let go completely. Your role after that point is to continue to pray every day, holding up your son or daughter before the Lord as he or she makes those first halting steps into adulthood, and to be available when asked for advice. But your son or daughter will own his or her decisions in the future.” — Dr. James Dobson
I remember hearing Dr. Dobson’s quote on letting go when my children were still very young. It made such an impact because it made so much sense. I was all in! With each passing year it was my job to increase their privileges and responsibilities and decrease my supervision and direction where appropriate. The idea being, that by the time they reached their senior year of high school, I would be prepared to let go and they would be prepared to go. This is a win/win because each time I gave them a privilege and new responsibility they gained confidence and a bit more freedom. I thought if I got used to doing this it would make letting go easier.
The ugly truth is that letting go is hard. There is this innate God-given instinct that a mother has to protect and nurture and love her child. The first day of kindergarten almost did me in. I remember it with each of my three children. Each time I took them they were scared and wanted to stay with me. But each time I would tell them how proud I was of them. We would pray and I would reassure them and the minute I got out of the school parking lot, I would cry all the way home.
Letting go is hard. Because it involves us letting go and entrusting our children to our Lord and ultimately trusting them. We let go when our children take their first step or ride their first bike. We let go when they wave goodbye and walk into kindergarten. We let go when they want to wear converse with their prom dress rather than heels. We let go when they want to play football instead of a safer sport. We let go when they cross that stage at graduation, and down the aisle to be married.
Letting go is hard. It’s true. But as we let go, we release our children to be and to do what God has gifted them to do. Why wouldn’t we trust Him with them?
James 1:17 (NIV) says, Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Psalm 127:3 (NIV) says, Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
Letting go is hard. But the reward is immense. When we show our children that we trust them it gives them confidence to soar on wings as eagles. As we let go, it opens not only their world but our own. As my children have grown and matured, blessings have doubled in my life. I have been blessed by their friends, their dreams, their future mates. I have been blessed by their interests, opinions, and insights, hobbies, and passions. Like a bungee jumper looking off the platform about to jump, letting go is hard. But the jump is so worth it.