When I think about raising my children and letting them go, I use the image of silly putty.
What? Okay hang with me.
If you roll silly putty into a short, thick log and then quickly try to pull it apart, it’s really hard to do and it snaps pretty sharply. It leaves a pretty blunt edge as well. But if you roll it into a long, thin log and then very slowly pull it apart, it will eventually get so thin that it breaks without any effort and you can hardly feel it. You’re also left with just a wisp of silly putty at the end.
This is what it looks like to let our children go as they grow older. If we hold on too tightly and keep them too “close,” then when it’s time for them to go, it’s not easy to do and feels so very sharp. But if instead, we let them go a little at a time, (that apron string getting thinner and thinner) then when it’s time for them to go, it feels right – it just happens.
We looked for ways to give our children freedom, choices, independence, and risks to take:
- making their own lunch
- going into the library to return a book by themselves while I sat in the car
- ordering their own food at a restaurant
- riding their bike to a friend’s house
- staying home alone while I ran to Target
- going to the Dominican Republic as a freshman in high school
- riding the train with a friend to visit her brother – to name a few.
Tough times in the moment, but necessary for their development into adults.