Step 3: A Step Sideways
As our kids get older they begin to reach for their independence, a healthy step to be sure. Throughout their lives our children move from elementary school to high school and beyond. They test the limits we have placed on them which tests their independence with us.
In the early years we walked above them, holding their hands up high as we taught them how to walk. Remember their little feet in between ours as we walked with them across the carpet step by slow step?
Eventually they managed on their own. It was then that we moved back. We followed closely along as they struggled across the carpet taking their first steps of independence, step by staggering step. Our kids continue to grow from those first steps to walking, jogging, then running, then driving! They may fall or even crash along the way but we are there to help them up.
There are times in the lives of our children when we need to step aside.
When they reach for that hot stove, when they haven’t prepared for a test, when they think they know it all, when their eyes roll, and when they are feeling a bit too proud of themselves.
The reason we step aside isn't to allow them harm but to allow them to experience life and all it has to offer. The good, the bad and the ugly.
We never step away but we do step aside.
We step aside and allow them to spread their wings and learn about success and failure in an environment that is filled with grace, forgiveness and support. It’s not an easy step but it is a necessary one as our kids get older.
As parents with three kids in college these 3 steps are, in many ways, a look back for Mary and I.
Step 1: A Step Forward
Step 2: A Step Back
Step 3: A Step Aside
We didn’t always get these steps right. In fact, I didn't realize we even had these three steps in our “parent handbook!” However, I can tell you each of these steps have been essential in raising our kids.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 420635266 c pliona