A Time for Letting Go
by Theresa Miller
When it comes to parenting, there is science and there’s also art.
At my son’s bicycle launch, I held the back of his seat to keep him steady while he positioned both feet on the pedals and then launched. Once he took off, he soared. He loved it, until he got a little nervous and fell. I helped him back up, steadied his seat and watched him take off again.
Robby had just barely grown into his bicycle over the summer. Needless to say, he hadn’t yet mastered the skill of launching his bike on his own. So after steadying his bike a few more times for him, I determined I would teach him all that he needed to know to achieve this task.
"Just put one foot on the pedal and keep one on the ground ... no, no don't sit on the seat yet! OK ..." I said.
"STOP TEACHING ME, MOM AND JUST HELP ME GO!" he interrupted in frustration.
I stood there a little stunned. Do I reprimand him or heed those desperate words?
In that instant, it hit me. Those words represented so much more than just the momentary launching of his bike. In a flash, they represented a young boy who was ready to go – to soar – and just needed a steady place to launch. I could hear him repeating those very words ten years from now. But for today, the teaching was over. My job was to just help him go.
So I steadied the seat and let him go.
There are times when my children are just ready to go. They don't need a step-by-step tutorial when that time comes. Their home will hopefully be that steady place to launch. I'll watch them go. I'll watch them fall. I'll watch them get back up, come for help and go again. With age, maturity and experience, I'll watch them come home less and less for that steady place to launch. But, for certain, I’ll watch them soar.
There is a science to this vast responsibility of parenting, as in a step-by-step tutorial on how to ride a bike! As a mom I want to control the best outcome possible for my children. I test technical and systematic strategies until I find something that works. My job is far from over though. To the contrary, the critical teaching is now! However, the art is in knowing when to let go.
Theresa is a wife and stay-at-home mom to four children, ranging from age seven to one. Theresa has been involved in MOPS since her first-born and recently started up a second (evening) group in her area for working moms.