Thursday, May 21, 2009

Inevitable Goodbyes

Wherever I speak about homeschoolers, college prep and winning scholarships, at least 50% of the questions afterward are about the emotional reality of letting go of adult children. So I think this deserves study.

As I've looked around, the designations and descriptions of what comes after children launch are pretty grim: Empty Nest Syndrome, Helicopter Parents, Boomerang Children. Advice ranges from downright insulting

Just leave your student at college - hands off!... get out your checkbook... and try not to answer his phone calls too often. (Excerpted from an actual parent orientation at a prestigious private college which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent.)

to gleefully self-indulgent

Sell the house! See the world! Spend your children's inheritance!.
Even Christians don't do much better.

So I'll be ditching cultural norms and looking for Scriptural answers for this transitional time in families' lives.

First thing we'll need an operational label for what we are talking about. "Empty Nest" just won't cut it. Many of us won't actually have an empty nest before we have grandchildren. But we will have the sea change that happens when our children begin to launch out on their own, and we will experience our success in raising effective children as a loss.

Soooo... "Transitional Parenting"? "Age to Age Parenting"? "the Extending Family"? Any ideas from the peanut gallery? I'd love to hear your ideas!


Linda said...

I'll be interested to see what scriptural norms you come up with for the adult children leaving. My past learning says there isn't any. Their culture was so different from ours. Scattering was considered a bad thing. I heard Jonathan Lindvall back in the late 80's teach on it.

Kim Anderson said...

There is a difference between leaving and scattering. You're right that scattering in Biblical terms is usually a judgment. But leaving is commanded specifically in several cases: marriage, battle, prayer, etc. So it can't be a bad thing.


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