February 17, 2011

Letting Go

It has been the most trying of times in our household. Sickness, death, arguments.

The realization that your kids will grow up and move away is more difficult for one of us to process than the other. It has caused some tension. How far do you let them go? When do you let them go? Who do you let them go with? When do you trust that what you have been teaching them is going to carry them through?

I have been reading Louis Markos' Restoring Beauty: The Good, The True and The Beautiful in the Writings of C.S. Lewis. I love the works of both C.S. Lewis and Dr. Markos (who is a personal friend of mine). A few of the passages that I keep going back to give me strength to believe that I am doing the right thing and to keep moving in the same direction.

Indeed, I cannot read through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader without a verse from 1 Corinthians popping into my head several times: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (10:13). Along with The Horse and His Boy, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader presents its audience with a picture of the the world that is not far removed from that of The Divine Comedy, Pilgrim's Progress, or Canterbury Tales. In an age when children (and their parents) are continually commanded to live in the now (not in the eschatological now of the kingdom, but the selfish, ephemeral now of immediate gratification), it is good that we be reminded that we are all pilgrims and sojourners in the land. We must be reminded (vis-a-vis the verse quoted above) that what we most need is daily grace to oercome the trials and temptations set before us on the road.

I have filled J's spiritual/moral bank account. I have read him the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He has learned to love the story of Ulysses. We have read Shakespeare.

I have NOT allowed the public school system (which I am a strong advocate for, by the way) to reduce art and religions to mere feelings and nature and man to mere things (to paraphrase Dr. Markos). I have not allowed imagination to die in my home. I have taught them that there is a right and a wrong. I have shown the boys how to use a moral compass as a guide. I have told them it o.k. to be different and to not be afraid to be smart. We have discussed virtue and vice.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22.

I have prepared them to go. I have taught them to try. I am not ready for J to leave forever. He is not ready to leave forever. But he is ready to try a few new things on his own. He is a good kid. Let him show you.

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