I had another moment.
The moment I realize that I was holding on too tight to my child.
For his own personal development, sometimes I need to learn to let go.
Remember that school project I mentioned last week? Well when I attempted to “help” my son carry it in the school and to his classroom, I was politely checked at school door.
One of the staff members informed me that my son was more than able to carry the project to his class on his own. She also reminded me that kids get on and off the school bus with their projects. So, basically, the least he could do was carry his to class.
I wasn’t prepared for that. I wanted to carry it in, make sure it didn’t fall apart, and perhaps I was also looking forward to seeing the response on the faces of his teacher and classmates.
Instead, I handed it over the my 8-year-old and walked back to my car.
I was a little disappointed but also enlightened.
How long am I going to continue to carry responsibilities that belong to my son? Will I always find reasons to do things for him?
It reminded me of the day my family decided what college I would attend. For several years, I dreamed of attending UIC. That was my dream school and for several months, I patiently awaited for my acceptance letter.
For some reason, the decision letter was continuously “lost in the mail”. To keep my mind off of the wait, I applied to Eastern Illinois University.
Both of my parents seemed to be pretty comfortable with me staying in the city of Chicago, as it would allow me to be accessible and close to home.
But the unexpected happen. I was accepted to UIC and EIU. We had visited EIU and I fell in love with the campus. Now I was at a crossroad.
While my mom was pushing for UIC, it was my dad who finally said “You should go to Eastern”.
I had never left home before….
Never been away from my family more than a few days…
Not to mention, I was extremely close to my parents.
Considering this, It was my dad that encouraged me to attend college in a county, town, and community, that we had no prior knowledge about. This was a big step.
So It was decided.
I enrolled at Eastern Illinois University.
Had it not been for my dad saying those words, I would probably have chosen UIC.
And to be frank, more than likely, I would have never graduated. UIC is a great school. But, during that time, at 18, I would have been more distracted with the city life than focused on my academics.
Going away to college, in a strange environment, is what pushed me to finish and graduate on time.
It took a brave parent to push me to make that decision. He could have imparted his fear and concern over my safety and overall wellbeing.
No, he was the brave parent.
I hope I continue to learn when to let go. Effective parenting requires a balance between protecting and preparing your child for the world.
“You should go to Eastern” was a brave parent statement.
Right now, it’s a school project. Yet, I hope and pray that as my son grows, I have the courage to tell him to reach for the stars.
Just like my dad did.
Dr. Lauren Meeks
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Confessions Of A Melanated Queen
Confessions of A Melanated Queen: Complexities of the Modern Black Woman, is comprised of controversial and thought-provoking commentary related to life, marriage, and family, through the lens of a millennial African American woman