My baby girl started working full-time last week. Or nearly full-time – 35 hours. At the age of 16 she has finished high school and is seeking direction for her life. She knows what she wants to do, just not exactly how and when. So in the meantime she is kind of in limbo. It is unfortunate that our society has no rite of passage for our young people. At 16 she is a very mature young lady, but because of her age is unable to pursue several options that are available to 18-year olds. This has caused much frustration and has contributed to the limbo state.
I also have been seeking direction and wisdom for this time. This is almost as difficult for me as it is for her. As a mom, how do I transition from having a highschooler to having a graduated, full-time working, young woman in my household? I told her the other day that this is a process that we are going through together. And because it’s new territory for both of us, we need to work through it together.
How much freedom is appropriate for a 16-year old high school graduate? How much is too much? Too little? Where do I let go? Where do I hold on? Do I allow her to make her own decisions about everything, or do I still retain veto power in some areas? What about household chores? What about curfews? The questions are endless. I guess I missed that class in Mommy School.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t trust her or her judgment. As I said before she’s very mature. She’s hard-working, extremely capable, and smart. She has a strong foundation of right and wrong and doesn’t follow the crowd. So what is it then? Why is this so hard? I think it’s this: I’m afraid I haven’t prepared her for something the world may throw at her, and I won’t be there to protect her. As a single mom for most of my children’s lives, I have assumed the responsibility of protector for them. That is an area that Father has been teaching me in recently. It is actually not my responsibility to “protect” them from the world at this age. It is my responsibility to point them to Father as protector.
My daughter is not ignorant of the world. She has a strong sense of who she is. She has a vision for her life that burns fiercely. And she has a relationship with Father that is growing as she learns to listen for His voice. So, as I daily, sometimes hourly, give this care into Father’s very capable hands, He is gently helping us make this transition. And as we move from mother and daughter toward two women following after God living in the same house, I am confident that special joys await us along this road.