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Pema Chodron And Parenting Advice on Letting Go


I’m reading a book called, The Places that Scare You by Pema Chödrön,

“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling,

but we take it as a message that it’s time

to stop struggling and look directly

at what’s threatening us. ”

What threatens me is a garage that needs to be cleaned out and I know what I’m going to find: Jordan’s stuff that he no longer uses. And to be honest, never will again.

And I don’t want to give it away yet.

It hadn’t been used in at least 6 years, maybe longer.

The piece that both feet used to balance on, now only fits one foot.

He didn’t even get on it.

I can hold on to the scooter. I almost did. I almost just put it back.


But we take it as a message that it’s time…

But he took it, looked at it and handed it to me, “You can give it away.”

So,  then the thought came, what if I just don’t let go.

it’s time to stop struggling

What if I hoarded the scooter and held onto it.

What if I resisted him growing up?

Because knowing me, I will hold on.

It will be about trying to keep the moment from changing.

Just keep him as he is now. Or as he was then…

Either way, we both lose.

He loses – because I don’t honor who he has become as a young man counting days he’s on his own. I don’t respect his strengths, and instead hold him back to fit my mold. In effect, I keep him on the scooter even though he has his lisence.


This is how not to let go.

Hold on to what was, and ignore what is. Hold on to memories without remembering growth, strength and new life of the next stage.

And it cripples everyone involved.

I see it with my clients whose sons are 11, 12, 13 years old and they no longer know what to do or how to relate to them.  They yearn for the scooter days. And in so doing, struggle to love the young men they have now.

look directly at what’s threatening us

What threatens us most is not our sons (or daughters) growing up. It’s our growth to handle it. We don’t like the stretch – of our own hearts and lives that are required to bear the sacrifice we know is coming. They will grow. They will change. They will launch.

“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling…”

We can do this. I can do this.

I can grieve the loss while he’s here. Not the loss of him leaving – the loss of who he was as a little guy.

And know that little guy foundation has made him an amazing young man.


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