From the time, a newborn comes into our life we observe a changing process. Even though they are very dependent on their parents at that time, the development begins, and the journey of growing up is under way. The results often depend on Dad’s success as a parent in learning to let go! Often letting go is more difficult for Mom. However, Dad is so important in being a bedrock encouragement, support, and casting a vision.
As our children grow to the teen stages and begin to show trust and confidence, we begin little by little to let out the rope of life. If suddenly they take a wrong turn, we quickly pull back in that rope to try to get them back in line. For example, if they are trustworthy and really do go to movies when they say they are, then we can give them more opportunities. Or, if they are invited to a party, but come home early because there was drinking, your trust levels and confidence begins to grow. If they are suppose to be studying, and they really make an A on the exam, the rope continues to be let out.
Becoming a mature, responsible adult does not automatically come at a certain age, but is developed over time as parents permit choices, expect reasonable responsibility and practice accountability. Dads, we teach, train and allow values to be taught and caught.
My friend, Dave Ramsey, had a wonderful idea to symbolize the ‘letting go’ efforts of Dads. When his daughter was going off to college, he purchased a gold rope (such as used for draperies), and tied colored ribbons around it to symbolize several areas of her life. A white ribbon to represent purity, a purple ribbon to represent her spiritual walk, one representing her College school colors. He wrapped the golden rope in a wonderful gift box and presented to his daughter the day she left for school. He told her that as her Mom and Dad they had been holding the strings of life and had taught her all the right things. Giving her the rope now represents her taking the rope and flying on her own. It was now up to her if she remained pure, and remained with a close relationship to her God and her family. Dad, this is a challenge to all of us!!! What a wonderful idea!
Dr. Dobson described parenting much like flying a kite. We struggle getting the kite up and started, a big rush of wind suddenly sweeps it straight up, then spiraling down to the ground. We change the kite’s tail in an effort to fly higher. We either make it longer, or even may have to make it shorter. We run, run, and run, and start letting out the string. All of sudden the kite is air borne. Inch by inch we continue to let out the string and it becomes a beautiful art piece flying against the stunning blue sky. There it is looking so grand and brilliantly soaring. All of a sudden, you are getting to the end of your string, and the kite begins to tug at your hand. You are at the point if you do not release the string, it will break anyway and suddenly disappear. At least if you let the string go, you can watch it fly away gradually. Abruptly you let go! Suddenly the kite is free, and so are you!
There is an art to letting out the rope until we can let go. This art gives our children the best possibility of being prepared to be set free. As much as it may hurt to let go of the rope, you are still a Dad 4Life…because they will return to the place where they know real love can be found.