New Adventures · 17 June 2012

I do not like sending my kids off on a new adventures. I do not like that my kids grow up and go to camp, then high school, then out of the house. I do not like it one little bit. But that is just my perspective. Going off on new adventures is great from the kids’ point of view.

I was at our high school graduation last night, and had the honor of sitting on stage with the graduates. I just direct traffic, but it is great to see the kids up close and personal. I get to see their excitement and sadness. I watch as the ceremony progresses and the realization finally dawns on them – high school is over. It is time to go play with the big kids now. That experience of watching my students leave is always bittersweet for me. As it is for many of them.

As important as ceremonies like graduation are, I do not like goodbyes or send offs. I do not like it that my kids grow up. But growing up is much better than the alternative, so letting them go is a good option.

When we let our kids go, they know it is a good thing too. As my kids have approached and gone through puberty, we have had trying times. We have had grief and pain. But these growing pains, as it were, are just part of life. Children need to cut the apron strings. They need to get out of the nest and test their own wings. They need to do what a whole bunch of other trite expressions tell us kids growing up need to do. All those expressions just go to show how universal the process of growing up is.

The pain involved is also universal.

Still, if the pain is universal, the triumphs are too. The kids win when their parents let them stay up late, go to a sleepover, spend a week at camp, or graduate and move away. Sure, they have pain too, but their feelings are surely more diverse than the separation anxiety and worry felt by most parents.

The kids get the exhilaration of a new adventure and an exciting new chapter in their lives regardless of the new experience. The older they are, the more that experience is their own. It truly becomes their thrill of victory or their agony of defeat as the saying goes. Those new chapters in our kids’ lives can certainly be difficult to read from a parent point of view, but they are loads of fun for the kids to write.

I really do not enjoy letting any of my kids go. It does not matter whether those leaving are my own kids or my students. But they do need to go. They need to live their own lives. They need to enjoy new adventures and new experiences. Whether I like it or not.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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