The question for some parents is this: Have I done what is necessary to prepare my son or daughter to actually take that next step that begins the journey toward adulthood, or have I put stumbling blocks of doubt in their steps so that they fear the journey?
Some children are going to college in another state, some children are going to college in state, some children are going to technical schools, some are going to find a “good” job and some are starting their own businesses. They are the children who have managed to push through all of their daily obstacles and accept their reward — a diploma.
These are the children who have a fire on the inside that tells them that this diploma is only the beginning. Their next steps are self determined and self guided.
Parents who release their children to dream, to try, to fail and to give back are teaching them that there is no victory without an occasional slipup — even when I fall, I will get back up.
As my son and his friends and classmates accepted their diplomas on June 1, all the parents sitting in the crowd were beaming with pride. As we exited the stadium and talked about the individual graduation celebrations to follow, the subject of next steps for our children came up.
Even though many were elated that their sons and daughters had been accepted into college and were moving to dorms away from home, just as many said they did not want their children to leave the house, because they would miss them. A few even believed their children could not take care of themselves.
How will you know what your children can or cannot do if you don’t at least let them try?
I definitely will miss my son as he leaves to attend college and live in the dorm. My firm belief is that as a mom and single parent, it has been my extreme pleasure to prepare him to take those next steps without me.
Venturing out on your own is really the only way to learn anything that sticks. When we pay for the car, we will put oil in the car; when the car is given to us, we rarely even wash it.
I will miss my son, and yet I know that my missing him is not what will create his strength. It is the loosening of the strings that will allow him to soar, and that is what makes the memory of him worth the release.
Allowing our children to leave the nest and live in their own nests that they build themselves — albeit in a dorm setting with like-minded nest builders — is what helps them grow.
Maturity takes time. Our job as parents should be to guide, encourage, catch and accept that the child we once cuddled in our arms is now all grown up.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.