Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Delicate Art of Letting Go

I was reading an article by James Dobson where he answers a parent's question "Q. I have found it very hard to turn my kids loose and face the empty nest. I know I need to release them, but it is so difficult. Can you help me?"

He went on to describe how parenting is like trying to fly a kite on a day with no wind. You put all kinds of effort in helping your "kite" get into the air. Finally, it gets in the air on a great gust of wind. Your efforts have paid off. I'll let Dobson explain the rest...
The kite begins pulling the string, making it difficult to hold on.
Inevitably, they reach the end of their line. What should they do now? The kite is demanding more freedom. It wants to go higher. Dad stands on his tiptoes and raises his hand to accommodate the tug. It is now grasped tenuously between his index finger and thumb, held upward toward the sky. Then the moment of release comes. The string slips through his fingers, and the kite soars majestically into God’s beautiful sky.

...They are proud of what they’ve done — but sad to realize that their job is finished. It was a labor of love. But where did the years go?

That is where you are today — standing on tiptoes and stretching toward the sky with the end of the string clutched between your fingers. It’s time to let go. And when you do, you’ll find that a new relationship will be born. Your parenting job is almost over. In its place will come a friendship that will have its own rewards.

I found this to be true with my own parents. But it took some time. On the day I could leave, I did. It happened that the day I graduated was about the time I turned 18. It was now my turn to make my own decisions and suffer my own consequences without my parents being there to block me from the pain of my poor choices. And guess what, I made some pretty stupid choices, and I had no one to blame but me.

When I had no car to drive, I bummed a ride from friends. When I needed to pay rent, I ate Top Ramen that week. I could no longer expect my mom or dad to take care of me. It was my turn to do that.

Along the way, I found that the only one I was accountable to was God. That was one of the good choices. I think, as parents, there comes a time when you can only hope that you have given them the tools necessary to survive and pray that those you didn't give will be filled in by God and the gifts He has given your child.

'Cause no parent is perfect and I am scared for the day that comes for me. But I have confidence in God that He will not let me mess things up too much. Just like the saying that "God will save someone because of or in spite of me", He can do the same for my children; or for yours.

Remember: The kite is going to break free one way or the other. It’s best that you release it when the time is right!

My prayer is that this speaks to your heart in a powerful way if you need to hear this. And reflect on the rambling if you don't. I am convinced this is a hard decision, but it is the right one. And I do not have to be a parent to see the truth in this. Not all understanding needs to come from experience.

"Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline." Proverbs 1:7

"Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding." Proverbs 9:10



Tracy said...

Wow, that is a pretty good analogy for such a hard point in one's life. I appreciate your comment about not needing to go through it to have knowledge about it. I have struggled with that my whole life so far. I am young, and have always looked younger than I am on top of that. I have always had to work extra hard to prove that I have knowledge and competence although I haven't necessarily experienced it before. I have learned from reading and listenting to others experiences. Similarly, I should not have to do drugs in order for me to tell someone that drugs are bad for them.

Russ said...

You have nothing to be afraid of. You will be an awesome parent. You survived a Baptism By Fire and chose your current life. I know how hard that is, believe me. I can't think of more way cool parents for a child than Tracy and Derrick. You rock.......

Derrick Bright said...

Tracy, I like your "I should not have to do drugs in order to tell someone else that it is not a good idea" thought.

Russ, that is one good thing about teaching; you get to try out some different "parenting" styles on other people's kids. :-)