Yay for Mistakes! Part 10 | Letting Go to Make Mistakes

We have one at home, the other launched in the world.

One is asking what is for dinner. One is asking what to make for dinner.

One is shopping for Legos. One is grocery shopping.

One is learning basketball skills. The other is learning to manage a home.

One is dependent, one is married.

One is in middle school and learning a work ethic. The other has completed graduate school and worked as a reference librarian.

One is an uncle, the other a new momma.

One is stepping into teen-hood, chewing loud, experimenting with how fast he can take a shower and brush his teeth, learning to push his body in sports, and evaluating different sides of an argument to persuade his parents to let him do something. The other is navigated potty training, and patiently deals with the demands of a toddler while organizing her day.

Boy and Girl. 15 years apart.

I look at our daughter, now a mother herself, and it is a little strange. Not long ago she was snuggling in my arms, asking me why roads had guard rails, and sitting legs swinging in the grocery cart while chatting to the checker. Now she is starting the process again with her daughter.

Parenting involves growing and teaching your child to independence and freedom -–a letting them go and start the cycle again with their own families and lives and choices. A process by which they learn, grow, and expand.

They also make mistakes.

Just like we did in our early years of independence. Just like we still do.

But as they mature and grow wings, there is this stepping back. Not giving advice unless asked. This treating them more as an adult and colleague. This shift begins to take place as they near adulthood. And it continues and continues.

You are always their parent, their cheerleader, their prayer warrior, their shelter when needed, but now you no longer rush to their side and be the first medic at the site. You let their mate and others arrive first. You come immediately when summoned, but you let them choose their own way, their own direction. There is no insisting they follow your path, or even walk behind you. They now follow their own path.

My husband and I are walking in the back yard, checking on plants, surveying our domain. A ritual he started years ago.

“I wouldn’t have done it that way,” my husband says, referring to our daughter and son-in-law.

I notice the Russian Sage is still in bloom even as the leaves are falling.

He grabs my hand. “But we need to let them make their own mistakes.”

I nod. “That we do. And it is not our job to tell them we think they are making a mistake.”

“We made mistakes when we were first married,” he chuckles.

“Still not immune to making some.”

We both laugh. Hoping our mistakes are fewer and further apart now that we are a bit wiser. But this may be just wishful thinking.

My daughter and son-in-law are smart, well grounded, and wiser in some ways than we were when we got married. And yet they will make small and maybe even large mistakes. It is all part of life, living, learning, and aging.

We make mistakes. They make mistakes, and their children will make mistakes.

I am sure our parents had a similar conversation about us. And their parents about them.

It is not our job to tell them, that according to our calculations, they may be making a mistake. Hopefully we as parents step back and let our adult children direct their own lives.

It is what God does with us. He steps back, not directing our every step and telling us continually what to do. He gives us freedom to choose which and what way to head. And when we make mistakes (or even sin), he doesn’t beat us up. Doesn’t snatch back his friendship and grace, hoard his advice and fall silent, withdrawn, and proudly lord over us with “you made your own bed, now lie in it and suffer.”

Instead, he cries and suffers with us, offers forgiveness, still calls us His child and treasure of great price, and welcomes us home. Like the father of the prodigal son runs to greet his son and hurries to throw him a feast.

He offers us truth, showers us with love. This is how he leads us, persuades us, changes us. Truth and love. He always deals with us in truth and love. Motivates us with truth and love. Offers us truth and love.

This is who we are called to imitate.

I watch my daughter and son-in-law care for their daughter. Hold her, listen to her chatter, play with her, and delight in her. I discuss meal plans, cleaning bathrooms, potty training, and nursing, with my daughter. I see the concern and love she has for her little one. She chats about interrupted nights and her daughter’s antics. I smile. I feel such pride and love. Grace surrounds me.

And I feel such wonder and mystery that the baby I once held is now a mother holding her own little version of herself. Walking the path of motherhood that countless generations have walked.

Join the Discussion: How are you being led in truth and love?

Articles is this series:

Yay for Mistakes! Part 1 | What Do You Do?
Yay for Mistakes! Part 2 | How to Respond
Yay for Mistakes! Part 3 | Responding to Our Children’s Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 4 | How to Let Our Children Make Mistakes and Fail
Yay for Mistakes! Part 5 | Quieting a Myth of Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 6 | Mistaking Our Worth
Yay for Mistakes! Part 7 | Mistaking Paradise
Yay for Mistakes! Part 8 | Some Mistakes Are Really Blessings in Disguise
Yay for Mistakes! Part 9 | Dealing with Really Big Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 10; Letting Go to Make Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 11; Dealing with Critical Words From Mistakes

Accompanying this series, Life as it Comes, a story podcast, takes a humorous look at making mistakes in episode 31, “Have You Pulled a Theresa?” and Episode 33, True Green and Garage Chaos .

Next week’s topic:

We will be looking at how to react to people who seem to expect perfection from you. Those who point out all your mistakes.

Stay tuned! (or subscribe and join the journey). Next week, part 11.

Thanks for stopping by,

Keep remembering what’s important!


Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory); and Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope).  A Wise Woman Builds her Home, Pat and Candy, Messy Marriage, Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth), Missional Women, Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement) and Lili Dunbar (#FaithOnFire).

21 Replies to “Yay for Mistakes! Part 10 | Letting Go to Make Mistakes”

  1. What a sweet and lovely posting. God’s love and a mother’s love

    I am anticipating the next blog in this series. Cannot wait until this author’s book comes out!

  2. Thank you so much for this post, Theresa!
    What words of wisdom you share here.
    Needed this reminder today.

  3. Great blog. Thanks!!

    It is a learning curve to go from ordering their lives when they are young to not giving advice except when asked. And when you do give advice now, it is open advice, “Here are a couple of options you could do.” and not, “Do this…”

  4. Beautiful wisdom here, Theresa. Yes, we all make mistakes. So freeing to learn to let others make theirs and be there for them when they need us, but no longer in the first line of rescue, as you say.

  5. THIS: “He offers us truth, showers us with love. This is how he leads us, persuades us, changes us. Truth and love. He always deals with us in truth and love. Motivates us with truth and love. Offers us truth and love.” Blessed to be your neighbor at Tell His Story

  6. I really appreciate this post—I have one married, one in Uni, and one graduating high school this year, and sometimes it is hard to know when to step in and when to give them space. You want to help, but you know they have to make mistakes to learn and grow. I love the analogy of our Heavenly Father in this! ? Thanks so much for sharing… I needed this today! Stopping by from #FaithFilledFriday

  7. Thank you for this. As a mother of two who are 10 years apart, it has definitely given me a different perspective. I was so young when my first-born came into the world. Now, as the mother of a 2 year-old, I find myself reflecting on how differently I do things compared to how I did them the first time. My mother tells me often how fulfilling it is to watch the fruits of your children blossoming into adulthood, reminding us of the verse that says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 I’d like to say I won’t make the same mistakes with my second one, but then again, they are both so different. Thank you for sharing!

    • Time, experience, and maturity in age does give one more wisdom in child rearing. At least it did for me. By number two, I realized more the seriousness of being a mother and that it was not as easy as I originally thought with my first born. Your mother is right. It is fulfilling to see your children bloom into adulthood.

  8. Learning to let them fly – hard for the parent yet exciting for the child. Learn a bit more every day for it, too, is a journey.

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