Recently, when walking into a store, my 6 year old pulled away from me when I went to take his hand. When I asked him why he didn’t want to hold my hand, he said, “mom, I don’t need to hold your hand, I will walk next to you.”
I have been dreading this moment for years. All my friends who have older children have warned me that their children too, eventually stopped holding their hand. They have cautioned me that these younger years go by in a “blink of an eye”. I heard them, but I didn’t hear them. Who does hear this when the days are long with night time feedings, endless playdates, tying shoelaces on a squirming child…
Yet, here I am. Six years later, with a too big for my liking 6 year old who is asking to let go and I am surprised this moment is here. I want to hold on in order to guide him and help him look out for dangerous cars, potholes, a tiny crack in the sidewalk. But the truth is, he needs to learn how to begin to navigate these moments in life on his own even though I would rather hold on a bit longer.
This is the beginning. The beginning of independence. The beginning of trying things on his own. Maybe making a mistake. Getting hurt. Falling down. Yet, if these things happen, that is okay. I will be walking right next to him.
In education, as teachers, we too have to practice letting go. Letting go does not mean walking away from our students, rather it is creating opportunities where students can begin to learn with our guidance. If we believe Carol Dweck when she says, “this growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts” then it is our responsibility to model how to let go and create opportunities for students to begin to develop into their future selves. What does letting go mean to you?