In exactly 4 years we will be sending The Kid off to college (or somewhere).  As I was preparing for his first day as a Freshman (yes I was preparing myself for the marvelous occasion), I stumbled across his name tag from his first day in kindergarden at Ross Elementary in Memphis.  It was funny that I still had it because I was reading a post from a friend the other day whose daugther is entering kindergarden this week and she was stressing over “letting go”. 

Well the purpose for The Kid’s name tag from almost 9 years ago was to help the parents realize that even if the kid is lost in the maze of hallways at the school- somebody would be able to quickly identify him and re-direct him to his destination. On that day a long, long time ago the parents were instructted to drive up, kick them out of the car, and keep it moving.  You see, it’s harder for the parents to let go than it is for the children to grow up simply because we fear that they won’t be able to find their way through the maze of life.

Now that we have an official teenager/ high school student  in the house our conversations with him about his school adventures are like pulling teeth without anesthesia. Man, it’s painful. The only thing he has openly shared is that he was nervous. That was last week. This week we didn’t hear any open confessions of nervousness but he had the bubble guts. LOL.  So I’ve quickly realized this week that instead of going through the “What did you do today? What did you learn? Did you see your friends?” We need to just be available and listen. They will talk if we listen. We did that over dinner last night. Everything we wanted to know he shared – without us asking.  The key is to listen without judging and they’ll be willing to share then offer a gentle nudge in the right direction if you sense that they are headed down the wrong path.

So now that The Kid is no longer required to wear the pinned on nametag when wandering the halls of Hillcrest High School in Simpsonville we know that he still has people around him that will redirect him when he’s off of his path. We just need to be ready and available when he asks for directions in the form of sharing the things he encounters .

Parents, listen and you will hear what they’ve been saying all along. They need us even if they are too big to walk around with name tags to identify themselves as a student in this thing called life.

The Kid is growing up!  Now if we can only teach all of these boys from the age of 4 that opening a can of biscuits does not require a can opener.

…and the church said amen!