For those of you who have read my blog, you know that I write about my reflections on a topic and then connect them to my life as an educator. So today I look back on how I have succeeded in “letting go” and times when it has been most difficult. Letting go in relationships whether friendships or of significant others is for another post. This one is parent to child, I think the most difficult one, at least for me. We hover over them from the time they enter into this world and through all the milestones till adulthood. We read how to books, get pronouncements and advice from family and friends all the time worrying that we’re doing the right thing. For the easy to raise child, we are instantly a success, envied by all. And that happens sometimes. But for many of us and for most of our kids just having an easy day is smiled upon as a success. I say this because this how letting go becomes insidious. We as parents clear the road for our children to minimize mishaps. We excuse EVERYTHING, taking responsibly and blame when anything goes wrong. Our big hearts allow for any mishaps giving unconditional love, as it needs to be, for our children to grow and flourish. But responsibility and ownership is something to be encouraged, instilled and taught, I feel, mostly by example. So we learn to let go slowly as our children go on play dates, go off to school and then sleepovers. Before long, trips without parents, off to college and for some schooling abroad. The day comes when they move into their own place. You call, you text, you touch base, endlessly. That’s what you do if you’re like me. And they, practicing good separation and individuation (rapprochement), something we revisit all or lives, especially when the grandchildren are born. Our children put up a barrier letting us know what lines not to cross. For some parents this comes easily, for others we struggle till we get there. But we do because we need to, not only for our kids, but for ourselves as well. I know for myself when and what triggers my “letting go anxiety;” recognizing this in me has helped me grow and let go. This has been a very long and winding road on my journey.
My big take away in all of this has been the effect it has had on my relationships with the parents of my students. Throughout my career as an educator, I have seen the mixed, ambivalent feelings parents have had as they say good bye to their children each morning. To help in this process we need to build a strong supportive relationship with parents. They need to see we care about the well being of their child; trust and respect are the cornerstones of this relationship. I keep this in mind as I work with parents and children, helping them to say good bye each day as they build the resilience to carry on: both parent and child. We give them and us space to grow, learn and venture out.