By Melissa Ford
"Letting go" is something I've been practicing for many years as a parent. Sometimes it's been easy, other times it's been hard.
Oh yes, I wasn't perfect. I confess. I constructed my son's fifth grade sugar-cube igloo because I couldn't stand it looking like a fifth grader built it. For years, I tried in vain to protect him from hurt feelings in the friendship department, finally realizing I was more skillful at igloo building than play-date manipulating. When my daughter dabbled in social girl drama, I offered unsolicited advice. . . she never followed.
BUT, there were many times when I did let go of worries and outcomes: fears about what other people thought, fears about my children getting hurt, and of course, the "ultimate let go," the cleanliness of my house.
In those leap-of-faith times, I learned that my children were far more resilient than I ever imagined. When I stepped back, letting them experience life's hard lessons, I witnessed their extreme pride and joy at their new-found competency and independence.
My biggest discovery? Successful parenting was more about "letting go" than protecting, advising, cleaning up messes (real or imagined), trying to control outcomes, or sheepishly trying to hang on to what used to be as my children grew into young adults going off to college.
Today, I continue to learn that letting go is the ultimate expression of love.... for myself and my children. Exhilarating, eye-opening, frightening (at times) and life-transforming: Letting go is the cornerstone of effective parenting and successful transitioning from child into adult!
Here's to a new way of loving!