The Parental Quandary of Letting Go

She was my firstborn, the privileged one who received the slavish affections of a delirious father instantly smitten by the new, fragile, squirming, little creature. Her birth unleased a whole new range of emotions and sensations: drooling euphoria, unhinged rapture, besotted reverence, incoherent adulation. There were the feedings and diaper changes and other more tedious repetitions, yet still I rushed each morning to her cradle so I could witness the inevitable warmth of her smile.

I tracked and promoted her career through childhood and adolescence. We slogged through “Hooked on Phonics” and Suzuki music lessons. I helped her with spelling bees, dioramas, book reports, and science projects. She joined the marching band, and I followed her to the recitals and competitions throughout the state, cheering and applauding her every effort.

It was around the time of her 18th birthday that I began to experience great disquiet. I realized that each school year event would not be revisited, that she would not return to lead the band or perform at football games or play in the orchestra or symphony; and so each such closing activity was endowed with poignancy, finality, and newfound urgency.

It is a routine and predictable enough event in a parent’s life, this letting go of the children we’ve raised. It brings a whole host of emotions, many of them marked by sorrow and foreboding, lamentation and weeping. Yet a parent must ultimately do this; parenting, after all, is preparing our children for their own lives. They do not belong to us. We merely have the burden—and pleasure—of raising them. Yet how we raise them plays a great role not only in our own lives, but in the lives of the entire nation.

The sadness I felt at letting go of my daughter was largely because I could glimpse the schism that was fast approaching the boisterous and happy family unit I had carefully assembled and tended through the years with house, kids, and pet canary. And it is this happy family unit that has always been the focus of those who occupy the commanding heights of our institutions—the Marxist elites.

These elites have sought to undermine the nuclear family, to destroy the institution of marriage, to render it merely one of any number of lifestyle options and preferences, rather than to elevate and privilege it as our most critical institution.

They have assaulted the bond between parents and children. They have injected their anti-family ideology into the bloodstream of the country through our schools and colleges and government programs that encourage dependency and dysfunctional behavior. They targeted church and religion as well, directing their contempt first and foremost at Christianity, thus weakening the sinews of our moral system and the nuclear family itself.

Marxists hold that your children do not belong to you; rather, they belong to the state. These elites seek control early on—in gestation, in pre-K, elementary school, and beyond—their grip on our children ever tighter and manipulative, culminating in an all-consuming dominance through our higher institutions.

The only way to combat the force of this Marxist onslaught is the autonomous, married, nuclear family that faithfully cultivates the parent-child bond. We must guard our children and instill in them the values of our civilization and faith. We must shield them from the corruption of the regime, and the radical vanguard that commands our schools and universities. Through this parent-child bond and the elements which support and cultivate it—the church and temple, our local communities—we can preserve the West and shield our children from the moral chaos surrounding us.

When the time came for my daughter to leave for college, I took the day off to drive her to her dorm. Before hitting the road, I told her how proud she had made me. I recited a prayer and blessed her. When we arrived, I helped her to unload her luggage and then bade her farewell.

Will she stand strong against the Marxist onslaught? Only time will tell, but I think she has a strong chance, for she has been raised in that pesky institution that the Marxists hate with a passion: the nuclear, two-parent family. It is our obligation to ensure that more of today’s children have a solid foundation from which to begin their adult lives.

Image Credit: Richard Moss