Mar 18, 2023 06:00am

“You raise kids to release them. The goal of parenting is releasing kids into the world,” said the confident pastor in a parenting class.

This was 10 years ago…and I was the confident pastor.

My kids were 8 and 5 at the time. It sounded good, but I had no idea what I was talking about.

Maybe you’ve been there.

Fast forward ten years to your child’s senior year of high school, and it is a roller coaster of emotions and expenses. You wonder, “how in the world did we get here?” You pray for time to slow down. But it won’t.
You ask how you’ll pay for all the senior expenses; you pray; you cry. You have some disagreements with your child who is trying to figure out who they are. You laugh; you look at photos; you cry; you celebrate; you cry more.

All while remembering, “you raise them to release them.”

If you are the parent of a senior who is headed into the workforce, military, college, or the great unknown, it is a unique season.

Here are a few things to remember during this season.1. Trust God with your children. God knows your child even better than you do, loves your child even more than you, and has a plan that is even better than yours. Saying you trust God is easy, actually trusting Him with the future of your children is very difficult.

2. Remember that parenting, like life, is not about you. Take a step back and see the future through the eyes of your child. They usually have a mix of excitement and fear. Help them focus on the exciting things ahead, and help them navigate the things that cause fear.

3. Show them some grace. Parents tend to take too much credit when their kids succeed and also too much blame when their kids stumble. I don’t know your kids, but I’d say there is a pretty good chance they might hit a few bumps in the road. I would also say there is a pretty good chance you did as well. Be there to cheer them on in the good times, and help pick them up and dust them off when things don’t go as planned.

4. Embrace your new role. I have often heard people say that parenting is a journey from control to influence. When your kids are young, you have a lot of control: when they get up, what they eat, who they talk to. As they grow up you have less control, sometimes no control, but hopefully you still have influence in their lives to point them to Christ.

5. Offer to help connect them to a church or campus ministry.

When the college drop off day finally arrived, I was excited for my daughter, and I was sad, really sad. To be honest, I had dreaded this day for a long time. It meant the end of a season. I know you never stop being a parent, but I knew that the relationship was changing , and it would never be the same. It is supposed to change, change is a part of life and parenting, but I don’t love change. And I loved having my daughter at home. I loved cheering for her during sports events, I loved having her in our church, and I loved taking her out to eat. I loved being her dad. I loved all, well almost all of, parenting, but I could also sense she was ready for the change. She was ready. Me? Not so much.

Now, several months later, I am still learning how to adjust to this new role, but she is doing great. If this stage of parenting is still in your future, I want you to know it is certainly difficult, but God is with you the entire time.

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