Wow! I know we’re all asking ourselves where did the summer go? Everyone is scrambling to get their kids ready to head back to school for another year of growing and learning. Tax-free weekend means it’s time to start grabbing up the last bit of what is needed to go back into the classroom. You’ll inevitably fight crowds in parking lots and malls all over town trying to get everything crossed off of your list. It’s only the beginning of another crazy school year. Many of you are just beginning this journey. Others are looking into the eyes of a mature young adult starting their senior year. I still remember how hard it was to let go that first day of school. In reality, it’s only the beginning of many years of letting go little by little.
My ex-husband used to drive me crazy by always proclaiming from the time my kids were toddlers that before I knew it they would be driving. I couldn’t even imagine that day! But trust me, that day comes so very fast. They are out the door with a set of car keys and you really have to let go. I prayed A LOT! And then before you blink, they are leaving the nest and making homes of their own.
Every step along the way prepares us for our children to become independent and make their own home. We begrudgingly let go of a few hours during the school day, trusting their teachers to take care of them in our absence. We lose a little control, as we are no longer the person making all the decisions for them. This is never easy. Then the next thing you know, they are having sleepovers with friends and they are gone for the night. Again, we put our trust in others to take care of them hoping that our children will remember the lessons and morals that we have instilled in them.
As a parent who has lived through this hectic time and survived to tell the tale, I have a little advice. The older your child, the more responsibility they need to have for their own actions. Resist the urge to rescue them every time they mess up. It’s ok if they occasionally miss an assignment, forget their gym bag, or fail a test. It’s how they’ll learn to do better next time. Allow the natural consequences of their actions to take place. Yes, I know just how difficult this can be and I certainly wasn’t always able to do this. Watching your child suffer is one of the most gut wrenching feelings you can experience.
When they mess up, love them anyway. One of the best things you can do for your child is to let them know that your love isn’t contingent upon them performing well. The love we have for our children is the closest that we will ever come to truly understanding unconditional love. We may not always like the choices and actions of our children. They at times disappoint and hurt us, but as their parent, we love them anyway.
For all of you facing the hustle and bustle of another busy school year, try not to get too caught up in all that you have to do. Appreciate the special moments and the time spent driving all over creation with them. Believe me, it passes in an instant. And pray! Pray for your children, their friends, their enemies, and their teachers.