Today's episode is about the idea of letting go as our children grow up, and how it can be a challenging but necessary rite of passage.
As parents, we all want the best for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. We want them to have every opportunity to learn and grow, to explore the world and discover their place in it. But as our children get older, we begin to realize that part of our job as parents is to let go and allow them to experience life on their own terms.
My husband and I recently faced this with our eldest daughter, Alexa, who is 14 years old and just finished eighth grade. Alexa is a bright, curious, and driven young woman. She's always been eager to learn more and take on new challenges. So when she was selected to take part in a three-year Earth Daughters Rite of Passage experience, which is a tradition that helps young girls transition from childhood into adulthood, we knew it would be a perfect fit for her.
This experience involves being blindfolded, hiking, and spending 24 hours in the wilderness without the help of mentors. Alexa had been preparing for this for months and was one of three girls selected out of 20 applicants. We wanted her to do this because we believe growth edges are important for building resiliency, and this experience would challenge her to step outside of her comfort zone and learn what she is capable of.
When we dropped her off, we were advised not to ask her about the experience when we picked her up. We were anxious about not being able to know what was happening to her, but we stayed true to our word and waited for her to tell us in her own time. When we picked her up, she was tired and covered in mosquito bites, but she had a big smile on her face.
As we sat in the car on the way back home, she began to recount her experience. She had to cook her own meals, build a shelter, and hoist her food up into a tree to keep it safe from bears. She also had to spend time bonding with the other girls and telling stories. She spoke of the challenges she faced, both physical and mental, and how she had to rely on her own resourcefulness to overcome them.
This experience was a rite of passage not only for Alexa, but for my husband and me as well. It was difficult to let go and not know what was happening to our child, but it was necessary for her growth and for us to accept her for who she is. As parents, we need to provide our children with the tools and values they need to make good decisions and be healthy, strong young adults.
So if you're a parent who is facing a similar situation, take comfort in knowing that you're not alone. It's normal to feel anxious and unsure about letting go, but remember that it's a necessary part of the journey. By giving our children the space and support they need to grow and learn, we are setting them up for success in the future.
Remember, the act of letting go doesn't mean that we stop caring or stop being involved in our children's lives. It simply means that we recognize their need for independence and allow them to take ownership of their own experiences. This may be difficult at times, but it's important to trust that our children will make good decisions and learn from their mistakes.
So if you're feeling anxious about letting go, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is capable of great things. Allow them to experience life on their own terms and be there to support them when they need it. The journey of parenting is never easy, but it's always worth it.