How about with our kids and their gaining independence?
The reason that I'm thinking of this today is that my oldest child just got her first job (other than babysitting). It's weird to me that she is this age, old enough and with the "want to" to work a job away from home.
I am admittedly a protective parent. All my kids' lives I have reminded people (who would say stuff like my kids are being sheltered too much, etc) that it is my right as their parent to be just as protective as I wanted to be with them. You parent your kids, I'll parent mine.
So now I have teenagers! As a part of their development and maturing I have had to think about what kinds of skills and experiences they need to grow into a well-rounded, responsible adult. Many of these things require me to release my tight grip on them and joyfully encourage steps toward independence.
The first big instance I can think of was a couple of years ago, when at 15 I sent my oldest off to a weekend computer science camp with a bunch of other high schoolers from schools across the state, (none of whom we knew) on a college campus which does not uphold the same religious beliefs or character standards that our family does. This might not seem like a biggie, but in our state the Biblical Christianity lifestyle which we adhere to is very much in the minority. We were pleased to see how she enjoyed the weekend, learned a lot, and upheld her standards and even defended her beliefs (gently) at one point.
Since that weekend she has had multiple other "educational camp" experiences with kids from the general public and seems to be settled strongly in her beliefs, not swayed by popular thought. She's even taking classes at the local community college as a highschooler. Driving (well, not by herself yet, still a permit). Doing her banking solo. Taking ballroom dance. So much more! Each time I loosen my grip a little more I find that it is exciting to see how God is blessing through this growing independence.
So now here she is, getting a job! I guess I'm feeling a little sentimental, surprised that she has arrived at this point in her life so quickly! Those baby days which felt like they would last forever have zipped into this new stage. I'm excited to see what God has for her.
SO-- How about you? What steps to you encourage to promote independence? Any suggestions from you who have successfully launched adults? :)
For many years I have prayed that I would not hold my kids back under a misguided sense of sentimentality or longing for those days when they were young and wanted nothing more than to spend every minute with me or daddy :) Here's another case where Scripture can help focus on the fact that God's guidance is really what matters in their lives!