A good old fashioned swing.
I think it must be the closest feeling a child has to soaring. I remember as a kid on the playground pumping higher and higher…once I got the pumping figured out. The cool kid thing was jumping from the swing at the peak. Probably not the safest! I was horrified when my kids tried it. My younger brother did it once….landed flat on his back. Hurt himself, he did. Yeah….no jumping from swings, kids!
I think we all long to soar.
We want to soar with our dreams.
Pumping and pumping until we reach the heights. I know I do….but, I really, really want my kiddos to soar. My oldest is a big dreamer. He has always had a creative imagination and I often felt I was trying to hold fast to a bucking bronco. He has always had so much he wants to do. I never could quite keep up! He inspired our made up word—exhausterating!
I never ever want to be a dream killer.
Some dreams are often unrealistic. I want to be my child’s biggest cheerleader. Life has a way of killing dreams. I’m not going to be guilty of doing it. I will train and guide my children on a path which leads to fulfilling their dreams. Whatever God has for them….He will lead them.
Giving them wings is a little like stomping on your heart one day and thrilling it with joy the next. My firstborn is pumping his wings fiercely. As the time grew near for him to soar from the nest, my heart couldn’t comprehend it. I had given so much of my life to this cute little boy who easily held my heart. How was I supposed to give him wings when I wasn’t sure I wanted him out of my nest in the first place?
The fear of the unknown was almost debilitating. Much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth took place. Until one day, a wise lady basically told me to get over it. I’m not kidding. Her kids are grown and she has a great-grandbaby, maybe two.
But, I was bemoaning on Facebook about the nest emptying of one, and she told me to think of all the greatness to come. There would be great joy on the flip side; an adult relationship with your offspring is incredibly rewarding! But, I have to adjust my thinking. I had to rethink this and keep moving forward.
At first, I have to say, it jolted me.
It felt rough and scratchy.
But, it wiggled its way into my brain and heart.
I sat in his bedroom, after the dorm move in day, and cried my way through the mess that was left behind. I cried and scratched and clawed my way through a week, or maybe just two. Sobbing even, maybe. Until one day, my littlest Little asked if I still loved them—the ones who were still there with me in the nest. I knew it was time to pull on the big girl panties and fully embrace this new day. And slowly, I began to see. I was excited to see him try his new way; walk his own path. His joy was my joy.
When our children soar, our hearts soar with them.
It has been a giving and taking and figuring it all out. You know, the normal boundaries stuff, and the mom in me worrying stuff, and I want you home this weekend stuff. It has been good. Mine is about to finish his first year of college. I can’t even imagine it. Oh, the soaring he has done!
There have been some clunky landings and stormy skies. But, that is the soaring life. How did he get the wings to fly, you ask?
We certainly don’t have all the answers, here are 5 things we did:
- Teach him he can do anything and everything God has for him to do. He stirs the passion of our hearts to do good things. Make sure he knows we believe 100% in him.
- Give him solid roots to ground him. Are they gonna be forgotten sometimes? Oh, yes. But, this solid foundation will always go with them.
- Shape his life full of opportunities which inspire him to be all he can be with God.
- Make sure he knows he has a nest to come home to. Our love is unconditional.
- Realize at this point, the “parenting” is pretty much done; we are now in the coaching phase.
I see the shortcomings and misfires in our parenting. This has not been an easy or mistake-free parenting adventure. But, like I told one of my Littles today, we make mistakes, but it has only been done from a heart of love. They aren’t going to like every decision we make, but never forget, it is always made from a place of love.
Love. Real, honest love. This is what makes the wings grow.