You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray. Proverbs 22:6
In the months leading up to my daughter’s graduation and move to a college campus, there was excitement about this next stage in her life, buying things for her dorm room, meeting her roommates, and registering for classes. There were also moments that were not so exciting that usually ended with the phrase “I can’t wait to move out of this house!” In those moments a question a friend asked me surfaced in my head, “are you ready for her to go yet, by this age my wife was really ready for our daughter to move to campus?” And yep, in some of those moments, I would have answered with a big “YES!”
The big day came, we packed her up, moved her in and worshiped with her on campus before we left. Well actually more like they told us that now is the time students go here, and parents go over there, basically separate and let them go, be gone with you (or at least that how it felt)! To top off the experience and make our day complete, a parent letter telling us that it is usually best to have very little contact with our child for the first month so they can adjust! I am crying just writing this!
But, we did as asked and tried not to contact her very much, especially since she “couldn’t wait to move out of this house!” All the while hoping that every time my phone rang or I got a text alert it was her. The big move has not turned out to be as exciting as she thought it would be, she is homesick, misses the healthy food, a clean house and us! Now we both can’t wait until the next time she is home again and we can hold each other tight. She gives the best hugs now, so tight and long, neither of us wanting to let go again. And now, she doesn’t want “to go back, she wants to stay home.” In fact, departures are so hard and tear-filled now that Clayton always has to be the one to take her back to campus or I would never come back!
It would be so easy to move her back home, figure out train schedules and have her back in my arms daily. However, I think we often forget that God gave us our children and trusted us to teach them and prepare them for life as adults. We need to let them go and grow, knowing that they will stumble and there will be heartache at times but trusting God to finish the work He has begun in them with, and through us, and then delight in watching them flourish and lean into the life God created them for.