Some days don’t turn out the way you planned.
Some lives take a different course than expected.
I think that’s the hardest part of being the parent of a Junior or Senior. Or even a young adult.

You guide, you direct, you help where needed, but ultimately the choice is up to them.

You may think you have a part in the decision, but it’s up to them . . .

to look both ways in the intersection.
to do that project.
to dream of what they would want to do or be.
to take the SAT.
to make wise choices with their friends.

Ultimately it’s their choice.

Each age stage has its challenge:

The infant and toddler years—and the vigilance and work they require.
The elementary years—when you can breathe a little, and let them enjoy childhood.
The middle school years—when you ride a daily roller coaster of emotions, independence/dependence, and change.
The high school years—when they begin to pull away and establish their own lives.

But then you realize your time is running out.
And you can either react in fear and clutch them close . . .
Or you can begin to let them soar.

Even if they’re not ready to fly.
Even if they’re not ready to soar.

Even if you’re not ready for them to fly.
Even if you’re not ready for them to soar.

It looks differently for different kids, but you let them succeed or fail based on their own choices.

They’ll have to do it eventually. They might as well begin making choices while they are under your roof so you can help them learn from it.

And it will be the hardest thing in the world.
At least it is for me.
I’m a protector. I want to keep those around me safe from any kind of harm.
Letting them make those choices will wrench your heart sometimes.

What’s more, I like doing things for my kids.
I’m good at taking care of things.
It makes me feel like I’m needed.

But sometimes, I have to choose to let them do something differently than I would and without my help. And when I make those choices, I know I’m also training someone else—me.

Because my sons will be making choices for the rest of their lives. Some of them I will agree with, some of them I won’t. As adults, husbands, men, they will even make good decisions but in ways that differ from how I would do it. So giving them the freedom to choose now not only prepares them for the day they will be on their own, but it also prepares me. Because I’m not just preparing my children for adulthood.

I’m also preparing myself for their adulthood.