My kids have been going to Vacation Bible School (aka Bible Vacation School; Vication Bible School;VBS) this week, and it has been the perfect transition to the school year for all of us. It has not been an easy transition for The Boy, but it is much needed.
Last night, Noah cried himself to sleep because he doesn’t want to go to VBS because he doesn’t want to leave me. This is the same boy that told me, “Don’t cry, Mommy, I’ll be back,” when I informed him that I would probably cry on his first day of kindergarten. We went through the same difficulty with Moriah, her first time at VBS. However, she was only 3–maybe 4, and she was much more persistent, and I was much more unsure about what to do. Should I make her go or back down and pull her out? After many, many tears on my part, I went on and “made” her go. She hated everyday, but I’m convinced I did the right thing, and she surprisingly has fond memories. This also marked the start of her being more outgoing. She grew in confidence and trust.
As I lay in bed with Noah, I wondered the same things: should I make him go or let him stay at home? After all, this is my last opportunity to have concentrated time with my Bubba,because he’ll be in school all day in a couple of weeks. I cried last night, too, but not as much as when I was faced with the same situation 3 years ago. I wavered on what I should do and I decided the same thing. I need to make him go. I would rather deal with this now than on the first day of school. It is so painful to watch a child go through something difficult. I know they will go through more difficult things throughout their lives, and the trauma of VBS will be nothing in comparison (in hindsight of course), but the decision to make a child do something difficult (but good) for them is still tough no matter how small.
Recently, I heard a parent admit that they purposely put their kids in challenging situations. Situations that will challenge them to grow and situations that will test what they have learned. I think it is good to put children in challenging situations while they are under our care. That way we are closer for The Rescue. It’s like letting go of the bike when you’re teaching kids to ride: let go when you think they have balance and confidence, but stay close in case they lose either of those. My hope is that this method will show them that 1) difficult things happen, 2)we will survive, 3) sometimes we come through better/stronger than we were before, 4) their parents (more importantly, God) are always there for The Rescue if they need help, and 5) they have to take risks. VBS is a challenging situation for all of us. It challenges my parenting and my trust in God and it challenges so many things in the kids, but it’s the perfect transition to the next phase.