We are in a season of cleaning out at our house. I’ve been waiting for this to happen. Our kids are 16 and 20. I hoped there would come a day when love-worn stuffed animals and too-small t-shirts would finally succumb to more fitting interests. I’ve been hinting at this transition for a while. Some might call it nagging.
The truth is, for all my efforts to encourage this awakening, my kids aren’t cleaning their rooms because of me. Last week, my daughter came home from a day with her show choir friends. They had been asked (once) to clean out and reorganize the storages areas behind the school auditorium. “It was so much fun,” she reported. The next day, outside her own door, she had 3 bags of garbage and as many for donation. As I write this, my son is engaged in similar activity, thanks to the prompting of his girlfriend. We like her.
This season of letting go coincides with the start of another academic year. As old as they are, I still harbor concerns about how the world (and the people in it) will treat and influence my kids. I just signed all the liability waivers, internet usage and photo release policy forms for this year at the high school. We continue to have conversations about how to interact with others, and even how to respond if a stranger knocks on our door, which rarely happens where we live. The news is crowded with cautionary tales about misplaced trust.
There are plenty of reasons to be fearful, but today I am grateful for those who influence my kids for the better, in ways I try to, but often fail. I feel somehow lighter in spirit, knowing I am not solely responsible for shaping who they will become. They say it takes a village to raise our children. When the village “works”, I’m able to let go of some of my fears, even as I slowly let go (just a little bit) of my kids.
Here at the village we call church, we make promises of love, support and care to “our” children at baptism. We teach Sunday School and support youth-centered activities not only for their sake, but because in the end, we are all influenced for the better by a healthy community that helps each other grow in faith and friendship. We follow safe conduct policies and take boundaries training as a responsibility to our kids and to each other. So thank you, church, for your commitment to the care of our kids, and the peace of mind of their parents. May all our kids, in all our villages, be so blessed.
Your friend and fellow minister, Rev. Kathryn Kuhn