Indiscipline among students is one of the issues on the front burner when the Ministry of Education holds two national consultations this month—one in Trinidad on February 15 and the other in...
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Time to leave the nest
More than 25 years ago, I heard you tell the story about how as a child your mother dropped you off miles from home and had you find your way back. It has been with me ever since.
I am now a mother myself, and my question is this: How can I help my son Jules, who went to school for business, marketing and management, leave our family real estate business? It’s a very profitable enterprise, but I know that his heart is not in having a career here. I want Jules to be happy. He wants to move away to a large city to pursue his dreams, but it is difficult for him. His fear of separation, and mine as well, is keeping him close to home. How does a parent let go?
As a father, I know how hard it can be to let children go off on their own and make critical life decisions. But you must realise that letting go is not about separation; it’s about independence.
Through all her 90 years, my mother, Eve, has maintained a great sense of adventure, and she has always recognised the importance of independence. She continuously set new challenges before me when I was growing up so that I (and she) could learn to trust in my ability to make good decisions.
The story you refer to goes like this: When I was a small child, Mum stopped the car in the middle of nowhere about three miles from our home, let me out and told me to find my own way back. I made it home safe and sound, but that wasn’t the only time Mum put me to the test.
When I was 12, she had me cycle 50 miles to a relative’s house all by myself. Also, encouraged by Mum, I once jumped into a river in order to win a bet (this was before I had learned how to swim!). Going through with these feats was anything but easy, but it forced me to experience the world on my own. Looking back, childhood was a rather elaborate triathlon!
When it comes down to it, letting go is about trusting your son to make the right decisions for himself. It sounds like you have raised a fine young man; now it’s time to push him to go out on his own and give him the freedom to live the life he desires.
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