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Mom's Journal

Letting Go

Find the faith to allow your child to take his own path

My son Ethan was about to begin his first day at a new school. He was too big for me to walk him to the door, and so I did my motherly best to offer complete instructions for handling the day while I drove him in the car. He listened intently. Or so I thought.

No sooner had I pulled into the "drop off" spot than Ethan grabbed his backpack, pecked me on the cheek and popped his door open. Rolling down the passenger window I hollered after him, "Remember to go in the door on the right?that's the one closest to your locker. See ya!"

Ethan waved and walked toward the school. I tried to relax. I'd reviewed the lunch system. He had his schedule. His school supplies had been labeled with his name. He was set.

I shot one last glance in the rearview mirror only to watch my darling boy enter the left door. Visions of a lost child erupted in my mind. Kids making fun of his wrong turn. A late slip for being tardy the first day. If not for the seatbelt which held me in my car and the vehicles lined up behind me, I would have bolted after my child.

I drove home to the mental music of God's words to the Israelites in captivity, "'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls'" (Jeremiah 6:16). A reassuring verse, yes, but I couldn't help but think, My son is standing at the crossroads and going the wrong way!

Crossroads. Where two ways meet and a choice must be made. To the right or the left. Forward or back. The Chinese symbol for crossroads is actually made up of two symbols meaning danger and opportunity. How appropriate. We come to crossroads each day of our lives: To begin potty training now or later? To allow my little one to spend the night at a friend's? To spank or not? To go back to work or stay home?

To go in the right door or the left one? To run after a child or let him go?

To be honest, Ethan and I were both at the crossroads that day. He had to face his day alone, rely on his own instincts, live with his own choices. And he did just fine. I had to face my fears, rely on my belief that I had done my best with my son and trust he could handle whatever the day threw at him. Most of all, I had to remember that God would walk with my son through the halls of his new school. Ethan might take a wrong turn, but he would never be lost.

I got through that day by focusing on my crossroads and praying for Ethan in his. I stood, I looked, I asked. As I took a deep breath and turned toward God, I eventually walked in the good way. And at the end of the day, with Ethan back at home and eager for tomorrow, I found rest.

Elisa Morgan is president of mops (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Her most recent book is When Husband & Wife Become Mom and Dad, with Carol Kuykendall (Zondervan). For information about a mops group in your area, call (800) 929-1287.

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