“Launching” is a pretty broad topic!  It immediately sets my mind to remembering many experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant.  Probably the most pertinent ones to this blog would be the student beginning their first year of school.  I especially recall one who insisted on crying and crawling under a classroom table until his mother, who was watching in horror from the hallway, burst into the room to rescue him.  This little scene played out again and again each day until I convinced the mother to just leave and trust us to do best by the child.  He survived!

Most often, these same children, who act a complete tragedy scene before school each day, begin laughing and joining their friends as soon as the parent is out of sight.  I’ve watched this scene repeated every year of my long career.  Those of us who have been around for many years recognize this as just part of the first “launch,” and not truly “separation anxiety” every time.  By labeling it as if it is abnormal, parents who “rescue” are actually causing their kids to have no reason to launch.  I especially see this scene with older parents.  It would be interesting to see a study done on differences in parenting styles based upon the age of the parents.

Conversely, a real tragedy I see today is the “launching” of students who are not prepared for life.  I know of a young man suffering with autism who was recently thrown out of his home because he turned 17, even though he hadn’t completed school yet.  He was living in a field near our church.  Thank goodness our youth minister came to his aide.

My life experiences have been greatly affected because I dared to believe that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” as stated in the Bible.  There are many promises therein that have guided me and led me to a life of success.  One of these promises is “Trust God and lean not unto your own understanding, and He will crown your every effort with success.”  Some people may not consider this possible.  I’ll just share a few examples with you as proof.

I had no finances for college… until the day before I was to enter.  Suddenly funds were provided by a relative who never gave a cent to anyone.  I began a teaching career without one course in education.  (I took courses at night while I taught during the days.)  I became an administrator (principal and superintendent) long before the certifications came.  I was elected state president of the Oklahoma Association for Gifted, Creative and Talented the very year I joined the association!  That presidency allowed me to work with the legislature in getting our law providing GT education passed.  And finally, I was able to establish a private GT school without any government help or funding eighteen years ago, and now daily I get to address the unique needs of gifted children.  My most fun proof, however:  I successfully coached a city champs basketball team of girls two years running, winning coach of the year one of those, without ever having played a game of basketball in my life. I always tell kids that you can do anything if you can read!

Yes, I was launching in many directions.  My father was always on the road as a truck driver, and my mother pretty much let me “fix” things in his place.  Maybe that was one reason I was willing to take so many risks in my life.  “With God, all things are possible.”  I guess my point is that kids will launch, one way or another.  Parents can help make that launch smooth or fight it tooth-and-nail, but kids will launch… eventually.

-        Kay