Tuesday afternoon we had Emily's high school orientation. While I was sitting there it hit me –– in just over four years my "baby" will leave us and head out into this big world by herself. Sure, we will be there and help her, however she will no longer be completely dependent upon us. She will be living and making decisions for herself, without us there to guide her. That thought alone is overwhelmingly scary.
This made me think about the whole "child leaving the nest" process. If you think about it, the life span of a person is about 78 years old. You only really are being "raised" for the first 18 years. Really, it is like sending a newborn out into the world and telling them to make it on their own. It dawned on me there, just how much shaping and molding we must do in the first 18 years of their life.
I had this conversation with one of my friends while walking yesterday morning and she brought up an interesting point. She said she felt while we are there shaping and molding, starting at about 14 years old, kids many times are more molded and shaped by their peers than their parents. Now THAT is a scary thought.
So then I pondered this topic even more. How much of a person is because of their parents and how much is because of how they may have been molded by outside influences. How much of those outside influences, as parents, can we control? Can we ever feel confident that when our children leave us, they will be okay?
My final conclusion is this. We need to do the best of our ability in raising them and then leave the rest to God to keep them safe, keep them happy and keep them on the right track. There is really nothing else we can do.
I know it is four years away, but believe me, it will pass in the blink of an eye. I know the past 14 years have.