independence dayMost often on the Fourth of July, we Americans focus on our independence as a nation. This year, I’m celebrating something else – personal independence.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think my son had read an early draft of Ruth’s latest post.  Over the last couple of months, he’s decided not to just go with the status quo.  He’s been making some decisions that will affect his long-term future. First he changed his planned major which meant choosing a different college.

Next he made a big decision in regards to his last year in high school. He’s dropping the swim team.

When he told me this, I was worried because that’s been such a big part of his identity. He’s been a varsity swimmer since his freshman year. “Give yourself some time to think about it and if you still think this is the best thing to do then go for it.” I spent a lot of time praying that he’d have the guidance he needed to make a good decision. After all, he used to love to swim.

Six or so weeks later, I asked if he was still quitting.  “I haven’t changed my mind. I want to like swimming again.”

How could I argue with that? He used to love to swim.  He used to want to be a life guard. Not anymore. Besides, he was still swimming in the summer league.

Over the first few weeks of summer swimming, I’ve noticed some big changes in his personality.  He’s funny again, making jokes and laughing with family and friends. He’s stepping up as a leader and was invited to be the assistant to the dry land coach. He’s talking about getting a job as a life guard next summer. “I want to be at the pool.”

I prayed for him to have the guidance that he needed, but what I really needed was the guidance to let him make his own decisions. In a year, he’ll be out of high school.  He’ll go to college and, oddly enough, I won’t be going with him. Better he learn to make decisions now.

Me?  I’m still praying that I let him exert his independence over the course of the next year. It may mean that I’m no longer a swim team mom, but that’s my issue, not his. We are, after all, independent people.  And, with God’s guidance, we’ll more than survive the experience. We’ll thrive.