Elaine West writes: “A wise and understanding neighbor phoned. She knew I was cringing inside my house, peeking out through half-drawn curtains. Outside were a cluster of cheering children, a pair of freshly skinned knees — and the triumphant face of a boy on a two-wheeler for the first time. ‘You know this means he’s not a little boy anymore?’ she asked.
“I knew. I had taken his toddler years in stride; even when his curiosity seemed to compel him to climb things, to taste strange things, and to fall out of things. At three, certain he could fix his own breakfast, he filled a strainer with cereal and poured a quart of milk on top. It was independence he was seeking. After cleaning up the mess, I remember feeling a certain pride in his attempt.
“He’s a Tom Sawyer-like boy with a cowlick in his hair and a frog in his pocket. His rambunctious nature makes summertime trips to the emergency room a near ritual. Through it all, I’ve never succumbed to those tears mothers experience when their treasures begin to grow up — and grow away. I felt pride, not anxiety when he called from high in a tree outside my window. I fairly burst with happiness when he showed he could swim to and from our raft. I shed no tears when he left on the school bus and didn’t even wave good-bye.
“So why had this bike-riding episode turned me into a neurotic version of Earth Mother? No longer would his boundaries be within my sight. Soon he’d be pleading for permission to ride to a friend’s house on a busy street nearby.
“That night his bedtime prayers concluded with, ‘And, please, God, tomorrow let me ride all the way to the mailbox without falling off.’ Good-bye, little boy. Have a good ride. Today the mailbox—tomorrow the world.”
God has equipped you with the courage and wisdom to prepare your children to go out with confidence and to go with God.
And that’s Good You News You Can Use!
Condensed from Riding Out of Childhood, Elaine West, New-Sun, Kendallville, IN