Human beings are an unusual bunch. The one thing in life that will never change is, that things are constantly changing…..yet humans cannot seem to wrap their minds around the fact that change is natural and inevitable.
Change affects us all in many ways. The changes in the world economy have had a profound impact on many in the last year. Changes with the environment have an effect on everyone as well. One of the most difficult forms of change is when your child (who you still refer to as your baby…..bad idea….will discuss the power of words in a future blog) starts attending a new school. Whether it is elementary school, middle school, high school or college, graduating to the next step is often tougher for the parents than the students themselves.
My wife and I recently had to deal with this phenomenon when our oldest daughter started High School. It was quite a step for her…..and us. Many parents have the hardest time letting their children blaze their own paths. We know that they are naïve to the ways of the world. We know that their path will be littered with some people that will try to take advantage of them. As a parent/protector, it is very had to let go.
My good friends experienced the same thing with their son who started Kindergarten this week. Different situation and setting, but definitely the same emotions. It is hard to accept that you will not be their only influence in their lives any longer. They will have teachers and friends who will now matter more than you do in some situations.
Ironically, I also have a good friend who just dropped their oldest son off at a major university to begin their college career. She said that that was the toughest to bear of all, since you are no longer living with them on a day to day basis any more. That is when it sinks in that, although they will always be your child, they have truly moved out and they will never actually going to be a child again.
One bit of advice that I can share with all parents is that we must understand that our job as a parent is to raise our children to leave us. That is the ultimate graduation. Talk about bitter-sweet! It is a tough way to look at it, but it is the healthiest way to look at it as well. We are not doing ourselves or our children a favor by creating someone who is co-dependent on us. It is our job to create an independent soul that can think and act for themselves. We need to let go and let them peruse their own dreams…even though we may not understand or agree with them. We need to let them skin their knees in the real world. We simply need to let them have the freedom to learn from their own experiences that we demanded from our own parents when the time was right.
There are many books that help us deal with change, but the one that stands out to me is, Who Moved My Cheese, by Dr. Ken Blanchard. It is the story about a couple of mice and their quest to find cheese once they discover that it is not in the place that they had always known it to be, Simple, yet a highly effective story.
As a matter of fact, I assigned my youngest (10 yr old) daughter to read it this summer, and she totally grasped the main message. That’s my kind of book, something that a ten year old can understand.
Change is inevitable. Don’t try to avoid or deny it, but rather embrace it. God obviously did not intend us to get too comfortable, so learn to roll with the changes in your life. Be flexible and open to new situations and you will definitely live a happier and more relaxed life.