Purposeful Parent Tip: Letting go of our children, while difficult, is necessary.
Moms and dads placed their kids on the school bus this morning or dropped them off at school feeling a bit differently than just a few days ago. The events in Newtown CT have forever changed this morning ritual. Whereas in the past, these few minutes might have been spent with a quick kiss and a “see you later” message, today, there were a few more kisses. A bigger hug. A message of “I love you.”
In reading through the posts on Facebook I see posts like, “It was hard putting my child on the bus today,” or “I can’t wait for school to be over,” or “I cried after I dropped off my child.” Understandable. After the tragedy just a few days ago, so raw in all of our hearts and minds, I too, stayed a bit longer watching my daughter walk into school. I placed a few more kisses on my son’s neck as he walked out the door.
Will they come home to me safely? Will they be alright? It’s likely they will. Odds are they will be safe and sound. They will arrive back home in a few hours complaining of homework or projects just as they do every other day. We will fall back into routines and eventually forget.
For those who lost a loved one on Friday, December 14, 2012, they will not forget as easily…or ever. It is these people for whom I send up my prayers and thoughts that they will one day find peace.
The survivors and ‘observers’ have a choice however. We can choose to live in a state of fear or we can have faith that our children will be safe. If we live in fear, we teach our children to live in fear. Is that what we want?
I’m not suggesting that we should teach our kids to throw caution to the wind but rather to approach life with a healthy dose of curiosity and a bit of risk is a good thing. Sheltering them does not serve them. It serves us. It makes us as their parents feel better. That we are in control. That we can protect them.
But we can’t. There is no bubble we can wrap around our kids to protect them – whether it be from the bumps on the playground or the harsh words of a mean kid or the broken heart after being rejected. In order to grow and thrive, they must experience some heartache. As their parents, we must allow that.
Yes, there are mean and bad people in the world. Yes, bad things happen and will continue to happen. All we can do is ensure our children are as safe as possible, cherish them, be mindful of our jobs as their parents, and let them go.
I’ve mentioned this poem by Kahlil Gibran in prior posts, but it seems even more appropriate today.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.