Every morning I drive my first grader to his school. I merge into the appropriate car line and cringe when I once again witness the daily ritual of certain parents and their children. It can be already hectic with all of the cars filing into the two separate drop off lanes, many in a hurry and not wanting to slow down for any reason, not even for the safety of our children. These certain parents I mentioned aren’t the ones driving, however. They are the walkers. The ones who get out of their cars and walk their children–some as old as fifth and sixth graders!– to the school entrances and some even walk them to their classrooms. Thus, parents holding their children’s hands are weaving in and out of the moving traffic and often stepping in front of a moving vehicle. Add this dynamic to the already hectic one and morning drop off becomes more hazardous. Unnecessarily.
We are in the last six weeks of school. My first grader was homeschooled for his Kindergarten year. On his very first day this year, he was ready to walk into the school and to his classroom all by himself. I did walk him that first day, but only to ensure he knew the way. So I understand parents wanting to walk their kids to school. For the first day, that is. Or even the first week. Beyond that, it is time to let go.
Both my children were great at this. Like my youngest, my oldest couldn’t wait to walk to his Kindergarten class by himself. Both of them were so proud to go on their own. I know personalities can often dictate behavior, but is it possible that the parents’ behavior can dictate the personalities of their children?
Don’t get me wrong. I make a big deal out of telling my boy goodbye. On the way to school, we say another morning prayer, we chat about any and everything, and we often sing to the radio or just sing random songs. Then, when we get close to the entrance, he unbuckles his seat belt and we exchange hugs and kisses. I tell him I will be praying for him and that I hope he has a great day. He is smiling when he gets out of the car. He is secure. He is ready to start the day.
Our job as parents is to prepare our children to walk by themselves. We should lovingly support them until it’s time to let them go. And we should begin letting them go from the moment they are born. It’s God’s design for parents to train their children in the way they should go. God didn’t say we should train them so we can go with them. It’s not always easy. I cried tears when both of my boys first started school. I have cried at all of those little milestones such as the first time they spent the night away from me. Now that my oldest is thirteen, I know driving is just around the corner. Yikes. Talk about wanting to hold his hand. On the steering wheel! I can still see him driving his little John Deere Tractor. But I digress.
Apart from the hassle these parents are causing the rest of us in the pick up line, they may be hindering their children from becoming strong, independent individuals. It may not seem like such a big thing, but I believe it is. It’s always the little things that mean so much. Believe me, our children are learning from the little things.
Love your child by letting him go. Teach a child to cling to you, and he will learn to cling to dependency.