by Jan Silvious
On a panel of women whose grown children had left home, there was a discussion of the emotions they had experienced at the painful time of departure. As I listened, I noted that the mothers who had prepared to release their kids to adulthood sounded much better equipped for the transition than those who seemed to have been caught unaware.
For most parents and their maturing children, separation is inevitable, though it can feel like rejection when the child who once loved to be home no longer prefers to be around. Just as putting away the crib was a milestone when your baby mastered crawling over the sides, so is deciding to let your teen push away when the time comes.
Preparation for independence for both parents and children begins when the children are young. If a parent can't bring himself to leave a crying child in the church nursery, then it will be tough to handle unpleasant separations in the days ahead. Parents, especially moms, need to be able to entrust their children to other responsible people on occasion in order to begin to form a life outside the home.
Maybe you are struggling with letting go. Whether you are relinquishing your children to the church nursery or to college, the feelings are the same. You may feel as if you are shirking your responsibility in some way or that you are being rejected.
Here are some thoughts that might help you with your struggle:
1. God loves your children more than you do. Nothing can touch them that has not first been filtered through His loving hands. You can trust God to work in their lives as you release them to His care.
2. You are a whole person apart from your mate or your children. God has a sovereign plan for you apart from your family. He sees you as valuable in yourself. Your wholeness as a person will be a healthy example for your children as they grow up.
3. Other people can have a positive influence on your children and can give an added dimension of understanding to their development. Try to give them as many healthy contacts as possible with teachers, church, and community leaders. If you limit your child's contacts in his early years, you will have either a very shy and awkward young adult or one who will be determined to see the world on his own.
4. Realize that you may lose a child to gain a cherished friend. Don't try to keep him in a spot where he can only relate to you on a childish level. Preparation for the time when your child leaves home begins on the day he or she is born. If you will let it happen, it can be a natural, rewarding process for you both.
God reminds us: "There is a time for everything...a time to plant and a time to uproot" (Eccl. 3:1-2). Letting go with grace can bring new blessings!
From The 5-Minute Devotional
© Zondervan, 1991