The Gift of Letting Go
Today we hear the story of Hannah and her son Samuel. Hannah had desperately wanted a child, but had been childless until a situation-comedy like moment arrived. Eli observed her praying, rather dramatically, and misook her for being drunk. Like all good sitcoms, it had a nice wrap-up with Eli blessing Hannah who soon became pregnant with Samuel. Today’s story tells us that Hannah kept Samuel at home until he was three, and then she left him at the temple for good to allow him to begin his life as a servant of God.
This story is of particular meaning for parents of young adults. For, just like Hannah, we cared for our children at home, nurturing them and helping them grow strong enough to be cast out into the world. When Samuel was ready, Hannah let him go…at 3!...knowing that he was not fully formed, that there was more for him to learn, but understanding her time of being the central figure in his life had passed.
My message, you may have guessed, is to Seattle Prep parents. It is always tempting for us to feel our work isn’t finished. But the truth is found when we reflect upon our own growth. We probably don’t feel ourselves to be a finished product, even now! Similarly, our children must be cast into the world, ready to take on many things, and they will succeed and fail many times.
Samuel would later have two sons whom Samuel appointed as judges, but they were dishonest. Had Hannah parented to prepare for this? Did she feel compelled to enroll Samuel in parenting-prep classes before he was three? For that matter, had Eli passed a background check?
Giver of life, you blessed us with life and the ability to help bring the next generation into the world. May we always do our best to guide those in need, but also teach them to trust in themselves and in the rest of your creation. We thank you for trusting us to balance our role in nurturing the youth of tomorrow with our role as the ones who let them go and set them free.
David Ellinger is a member of the Math Department at Seattle Prep. He and his wife, Lisa are parents to Zachary `18
and Eliza (14).