So yesterday, I put my daughter on the bus for her first day of middle school. I’m still amazed that I could be at this point of my life already. How am I old enough to have a child in junior high? It seems like yesterday that I was visiting her at her preschool (where this picture was taken).
Hannah is really growing up fast. I’m blown away by her maturity, her kindness, and her internal and external beauty. I’m excited by the new opportunities that she will face as she moves forward in her academic pursuits. I’m also excited for the new opportunities to see Hannah as she matures into a young woman. She is showing many signs of heading down this path already. She wants to be in the know regarding the different adult conversations that Leanne and I are having. She wants to pick out her own closes and have her own style. She is taking more of an initiative in communicating outside of school with her friends. She’s physically growing. She’s even starting to watch some of the same shows that Leanne and I enjoy.
Some of this is scary. It was kind of strange to see some of the older eighth grade boys on her bus (and to see some of the older guys and girls at our church’s youth group). As a parent, I want to make sure Hannah is safe, and I want to protect her from the influences that could lead her down the wrong path (not that all older kids are bad). But I’m also reminded of an illustration from Stu Weber’s book, Tender Warrior. Our kids are like arrows. Our job as parents is to direct our kids towards the “Target.” And then as our kids get older, we need to let go of the bowstring. We need to give up control of the arrow and trust that it will fly to the “Target.” This milestone in Hannah’s life is one of those times where we loosen our fingers just a bit on the bowstring. I know that we’re not perfect parents, but I also trust that we’ve taken the steps to aim our “arrow” in the right direction.