letting go

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I know I finished my 31-Days of Parenting posts on Friday, but the evening before that last post went live, our community was touched with tragedy.

As I dropped my kids off at school that morning, with a heavy heart, this song came on my iPod. It is from the upcoming album by Garth Brooks.

Send ‘Em On Down The Road”


He didn’t ask
He didn’t pry
He just held the ice that covered my black eye
And when that girl
She broke my heart
We just threw that baseball back and forth ‘till dark
And when I started playing guitar
And didn’t have a clue
He wanted to protect me
But somehow my father knew, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And send ‘em on down the road

A little kiss
On a skinned up knee
From playing soccer, riding bikes and climbing trees
When bad dreams
Filled their heads
I chased the monsters out from underneath their beds
I guess I always knew those days would end
But the hardest thing I’ve ever learned has been, that

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bear the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And you send ‘em on down the road

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
And even though it’s gonna break your heart, you let ‘em go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
You pull them close
And you pray to God
To send ‘em on down the road
Down the road
Down the road

Our kids will hurt. They will lose family members, friends, and acquaintances. We may even lose our children. Letting go is hard, because what we want to do is hold them tight and never let go. But we have to let go, and let God take care of them.
Our prayers go out to those in our community impacted by the tragedy of Thursday evening.
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Encourage Independence

When your baby becomes a toddler, you are so excited for what comes next. Crawling. Walking. Talking. Playing independently.

But when they become pre-teens and teenagers, it becomes harder and harder to watch them become independent.

Why is that?

For me, I think some of it is fear. Fear of them getting hurt. Fear of them getting in trouble. Fear of them making wrong choices. Fear of them growing up and leaving me behind. Fear of what life will be like when they have left home. Fear that I haven’t done a good enough job as a mom.

But the problem with giving in to the fears is this: by holding on too tightly, we are actually making it harder for them to succeed as adults. As parents, we must give them the tools to grow up and become independent of us. And then we have to let them try those tools out and see how they work.

I will never forget the first time I let my kids walk to the public library without me. It is five blocks from our house. And we live in a small community. I made Anne text me when she left our house, text me again when they arrived at the library, text again when leaving the library and finally text when they returned home. I was a nervous wreck the entire time. And this was just a little over a year ago. (Overprotective much?)

I have some trouble letting go. I like my kids. I used to get a hard time from some of our friends because we would rarely get a sitter when they were younger. We just like being with our children. That is why we had children, to love on them and be a family.

But I also know that I have to let them grow and learn, which means I have to learn to let go and encourage them to step out independently. I have to be aware of where they are at and when they are ready for the next step toward independence and encourage that.

That means letting them fail sometimes. That means my heart hurts sometimes. That means beaming with pride when they rise to the occasion. That means giving them an “atta boy” or “atta girl” when they show growth in some area where previously I may have wondered if they would ever grow.

That means that I cannot hold them too tightly.

Let go. Encourage. And watch them thrive.

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