One of the hardest things about being a parent for me is knowing when to hold on and when to let go. This week, I practiced letting go, a little.
My oldest son is 17. He will be attending the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's National Youth Gathering in New Orleans. The Gatherings are held every 3 years and are attended by about 30,000 youth and leaders. They are wonderful experiences, full of worship, servant events, music, speakers and fun. I have attended the LCMS Youth Gatherings four times, both as a youth and an adult leader. I am so excited for my son to be able to have this experience.
So, on to the letting go part. We moved to a new town a year ago. Because he had raised all the funds for this trip with his former youth group he was going to travel back to Great Falls to be part of that group. Wonderful idea, great fun for him, he can see all his old friends, but, to get him back was a problem. I finally settled on sending him back by bus, mainly because the cost was cheaper than any other way. I kept telling myself and him, what a great adventure it would be, 21 hours on a bus. But when it came down to dropping him off, at midnight no less, at the Boise bus station, I wanted to change my mind. Now he is in Great Falls, he made it just fine, had a great trip, was even able to meet a lady traveling with her father, who homeschools her kids.
I am so glad I stuck with the choice. It was hard on me to let him go. It ended up being a great choice for him. Self-esteem isn't taught by telling your child how great they are, but by letting them experience things for themselves. This experience has been great for him. It has helped him to grow up, which is my goal as a parent. And the best part of all, his adventure is just starting. He is now reunited with his friends and will have a great time at the Gathering.