We went skiing New Year’s Eve day. When I say we I mean my husband, myself and our 4 children ages 11, 9, 7 and 5. This was the first time for our 5 year old, the second for our 7 year old and the fourth time for the 11 & 9 year old. My husband is a very good skier and I am pretty good. My husband teaches each child at age 5. In the picture Spencer, my 7 year old, is smiling because he is about to take a 15 foot drop down a steep slope. He does not use poles and he is fast. I mean the kind of fast that would give me a heart attack if I had a weak heart! I followed him down the slopes guiding him “Stay to the left, watch for other skiers.” He responded “Got it Mom.” The thing was he went very fast but he was still in control and I was just holding my breath and praying.
I guess that is what having teenagers will feel like daily. We as parents will let them descend the slopes guiding them gently from their sides but knowing we cannot stop them, holding our breath and praying they stay in control of the situation at hand. I think God planned for us to teach them and raise them for at least 13 years before they decide to ski down that hill, so that we as parents can help form their foundation and be gradually led to that hill, which sometimes looks like a cliff. But what is the alternative? I guess we could lock them in their rooms and control their every movement right? But then what? They will rebel and be confused and insecure, you see if we don’t believe that they can handle situations independently how will they ever believe in themselves?
We have to set them free one baby step at a time so that once they graduate from High School we can continue to guide them but to let go a little more and when they graduate from college and get a full time job we will be able to let them go start their own lives. Then we pray like crazy and keep in touch and provide our love and support from a distance. God help me every step had better be a gradual one because just the thought of letting go brings me to tears.
Just like allowing Spencer to take that hill knowing that he was ready for it, I gave him a sense of security and confidence he will use when he is older. I let him take that hill now so that when he is grown he won’t have a doubt in his mind that he can rise to every challenge he meets.
(But I still want to keep them little now!)