Preparing My Children to Fly

My oldest is going to be 17 in November and it has hit me that in a little over a year, she will be an adult…old enough to vote, join the military, and leave home if she chooses.  It makes me think about where I was at her age.  I don’t think she is as independent as I was but that’s ok.  I may have been too independent actually because I didn’t think I needed anyone, even God, when I was 18.  I actually remember when I was a newly married 19 year old and my father in law told my husband that I was “just too independent.”  Bull headed was more like it.  I have always been strong willed…
I have been thinking a lot about whether or not I am doing an effective job teaching my children…not just academically but other things to help them be successful in life.   I jumped around to 10 different schools when I was growing up, some private, some public so I had a chance to get lots of academics but what about “life skills”? In school, I learned that football players were mean to us band kids…I still have emotional scars from one jock in particular.  I have forgiven him in my heart but I wonder if he even knows, or cares, how much he hurt me emotionally.  I learned also that there is still smoking in the bathroom, sex under the bleachers and parties with alcohol even at private school…yet, even in college, some of the students I was in A &P lab with said I was “sheltered” because I had never tried pot…wow! I never had a desire to, not that I wasn’t offered it.
As far as academics, my students may not be at the highest level possible or make the best scores on standardized tests but does that really matter?  What I learned in school,  my GPA, my “honors” classes, my ACT & SAT scores…do they really matter? I don’t even remember what they were honestly! Am I successful in life?  I think so.  No, I am not doing what I thought I would be doing now ( I was going to be a nurse practioner) but that doesn’t mean I have failed! My life changed course and I followed God’s plan.  I am happily married to my best friend and together we are raising three amazing kids who we don’t want to force into college or careers that are not part of God’s plan for them.  If my daughter truly wants to hold off on college and to be a childcare provider right out of high school, so be it!  I have taken college courses throughout my adult life and one of these days, I may finally get my degree…she can do that too if she wants.
My point is this, I am sure my parents had dreams of what I would be when I grew up and what my life would be like.  I am pretty certain that I am not living the life they dreamed of for me BUT I don’t think they aren’t disappointed in me.  They knew that I couldn’t live THEIR dreams…I had to live my own.  My kids can’t live MY dreams.  I can guide them in the best way I know how but in the end, their life is theirs to live.  My mom wasn’t crazy about the fact that I was getting married at 19 but she didn’t try to stop me or manipulate me.  She allowed me to make my own choice.  That is the way I hope to be when the time comes for me to release my children…knowing that I have done everything possible to teach them how to live and feeling confident that they can do it.
My friend, Vicki told me a story once about how the momma eagle starts to make the nest less comfortable for her babies so that her offspring will realize that it is time to go. She said we needed to do the same thing. Our little baby birds will grow up and they need to go out and fly on their own…have their own families. If we are not allowing them, we are hindering them and are not following God’s plan for families. Ready or not…I would rather they be ready…wouldn’t you?
Wings as Eagles by lacybekah, on Pix-O-Sphere

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