My wife and I knew that the days would come when we would have to start letting our son grow up. For nearly 12 years, we kept the closest watch on him. That includes on his school and church campus. Now that he has entered junior high school and will become a teen very soon, we have allowed him a little more freedom on a campus large enough to allow it but still keep him within reasonable proximity to us. We still watch over him closely, but on campus we feel comfortable watching him from a greater distance.
Familiar school campus
I teach at the same Christian school that our son attends, and we both started there eight years ago. Our son has his share of friends, and he has reached the point at which having Mom and Dad around him cramps his style. We say hello to each other in the hallways, but I let him walk to class with his friends without my interference. After school, as long as I know where to find him and can call him when necessary, he may go to another part of the campus with his friends.
Our school campus is also our church campus. Our son now attends the youth services each Sunday morning and Wednesday evening. He goes in with his pre-and early teen friends, so we now keep our distance because it is no longer cool to have his parents walk him in. We no longer linger as we did when he was younger and going into children's church. As long as he understands that he goes to church to worship and not socialize, then we will grant that freedom.
We know most people
We wanted to experiment in a place that we know very well. We have attended and worked at our church/school for eight years. We have little turnover in teachers or students, so I know most every adult who works on campus and most students who come to class each day. We will not grant this freedom to our son anywhere else for a few more years, but we know that our campus is safe. This familiarity gives us the peace of mind we need to allow him to experience a little more freedom from our clutches.
Potential loss of freedom
Of course, we will still watch our son from distance even on campus. He knows that any breech of our trust will cost him his freedom. He must go only where assigned or allowed, and we must know where he is at all times. He must notify us if plans change. As soon as he breaks those rules, we follow him around again regardless of any style cramping. Our son is learning that freedom comes with responsibility and trust.
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