Preparing for Independence

prepared The Boy Scout motto is "Be prepared." I'm thinking that should really be the motto of parenthood. Isn't that what it's really all about? Getting our kids prepared to step out into this world on their own? Making sure they have the tools they need to navigate the sometimes rough waters that lie ahead?

In two weeks, my younger daughter is heading off to Minneapolis to try out for a spring/summer girls' hockey team. Yes, we live in Kansas. Yes, Minneapolis is a six to seven hour drive from our home. Yes, we are crazy.

She's guaranteed a spot on the team as at least an alternate, but she has to go up there and prove she belongs on the team if she wants to play in the tournaments. There's a distinct possibility that at the end of the weekend, they will tell her that she's just going to be an alternate. If that happens, my daughter is going to be devastated. And I'm not going to be there.

You see, my other daughter is playing in a soccer tournament in St. Louis that weekend, so we have to split up. My husband is taking my younger one to Minnesota, and I'm taking the older one to St. Louis. Don't get me wrong, my husband will do a great job in Minneapolis. But when it comes to emotional girls, he's sometimes in over his head (and truly, what guy isn't?).

So, I'm spending a lot of time in the next two weeks getting my younger daughter prepared for the possibility that she might not make the team while still boosting her confidence to get out there and do her best. I'm doing my best to prepare her for either scenario.

Because that's our job as parents. It's to get our kids ready to handle things on their own. It's to teach our kids that no matter where they go or what they do that God is right there with them. It's to make sure they know how to make good decisions, hold onto their frustrations and keep moving forward even when it seems the world is against them.

It's not going to be easy to kiss my younger daughter goodbye and send her off to Minneapolis in a couple weeks. I'm going to wonder the whole time they're gone how it's going. But the truth is that seven years from now, I'm not just going to be kissing her goodbye for a weekend, I'm going to be sending her off to navigate the world on her own. If we prepare our kids now and let them take those steps toward being more dependent on God than they are on us, then when they take that big step of independence, we'll know that we've prepared them well.