Thursday, March 25, 2004

Letting Go

“God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…" ~ Psalms 46:1,2

She's had 18 years, to get ready for this day
She should be past the tears, she cries some anyway.
Oh, oh letting go
There's nothing in the way now,
Oh, letting go
There's room enough to fly
And even though, she's spent her whole life waiting,
It's never easy… letting go.

“Letting Go”
~ recorded by Suzy Bogguss

Letting go of our children is probably one of the most challenging aspects of parenthood. When my husband was in the first grade he announced to his mother that he was running away. Much to his surprise, his mom didn't waste any time packing him a lunch. She even made a little knapsack and tied it to the end of a stick for him. Then she kissed him good bye, wished him Godspeed and closed the sliding doors behind him. After giving it a little more thought, the young rebel decided he would just stay on the porch steps and eat his lunch.

Letting go.

There's a great analogy in that story. Sometimes we have to let go of our children before they see where they've gone wrong and decide to turn around and come back. If we hang on or try to be their friends out of fear and desperation, then we won't be the parents God intended us to be. We'll be so worried about losing them that we'll compromise our own principles just to get them to stay.

I heard Dr. Phil say that we're not raising children; we're raising adults - and we have a responsibility to prepare them for real world situations. We're not doing our children any favors to spare them from the harsh realities of life that they will one day be forced to face.

Recently, one of my nieces informed her mother that she plans to move out of the house as soon as she turns 18, which will be in the fall of her senior year. Initially, this upset my sister greatly, and she pleaded with her daughter to stop saying that. Then my niece replied, "Well, Mom, if you would quit being so controlling and lighten up on some of your rules, maybe I wouldn't have to move out."

Mission accomplished. What can I say? The girl is good.

But after pondering the situation a little longer, my sister viewed things in a totally different light and she went back to her daughter and said, "You know, I've established these rules for our home because I feel they're important and that's my responsibility as a parent. So if you decide that my rules are too restrictive, then maybe you should move out."

Amazingly, her daughter suddenly had a dramatic change of heart. "Well, I haven't made any definite decisions yet, Mom."

Letting go.

When my kids were little I would mother-hen them to death. Keen used to say, "Let them go outside without a hat; they'll learn to wear a hat when their ears get cold." I finally came to the realization that there are some lessons only life can teach them.

On the first day of school last fall, (which also happened to be one of the hottest days of the year), our 14-year-old son, Kirk, decided to wear a sweatshirt. I was tempted to say something, but I bit my tongue. When he came home from school that afternoon the first thing he did was tear that sweatshirt off. "Man, was this shirt hot!" he said. "It was like wearing a blanket!"

Letting go.

The next day I was working in the yard and I noticed that it was almost 8:00 and Kirk hadn't left for school yet. I was concerned that he would be late, but once again, I zipped my mouth. How will he learn to budget his time if I don't let him fail? When he finally came outside to get in his car, I gave him a hug and told him to have a good day. Sure enough, he ended up having a hard time finding a parking spot and he was almost late for assembly. But he learned a lesson - not because I said or did anything - but because I didn't say or do anything. He learned because he experienced firsthand the stressful consequences of cutting his time too short.

Letting go. It's not easy - but it's necessary.

Author Unknown

TO let go doesn't mean to stop caring, it means I can't do it for someone else.

TO let go is not to cut myself off, it's the realization that I can't control another.

TO let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

TO let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

TO let go is not to try to change or blame another; I can only change myself.

TO let go is not to care for, but to care about.

TO let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

TO let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

TO let go is not to be in the middle arranging the entire outcome, but to allow others to effect their own outcomes.

TO let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality.

TO let go is not to deny, but to accept.

TO let go is not to nag, scold, or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

TO let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes, and to cherish the moment.

TO let go is not to criticize or regulate anyone, but to try to become whatever I dream I can be.

TO let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

TO let go is to fear less and to love more.