on walking with one’s daughter

On my way to work I saw a little girl walking to school with her dad. It of course made me think of how I’ve just, well, driven to school with my daughter, and dropped her off, and let her take the next step of life.

And while a college that’s a 10 hour drive from here is a lot different from the school that’s three blocks away, I had to do the same thing when she was five years old and starting kindergarten. At that time we lived in California, and she rode the bus to a magnet school. That first day was a big step for all of us, walking to the corner to catch the bus, watching her climb the stairs, and letting the bus drive off. I don’t think Michelle drove behind the bus on the way to school, but I think she considered it.

We had gone to the school, met Mrs. Ledbetter (the quintessential kindergarten teacher!), and knew that Heather was going to be with someone who was well-equipped to teach and nurture our daughter. We knew we had a partner working with us, helping us as parents toward the vision we had for our little girl.

It’s been like that at a lot of stages over the past 13 years. As much as we like having her around all the time, our role as parents is to help create a healthy environment where her gifts and calling can flourish, where she as a person can flourish, and that sort of environment includes capable people who can teach her things and provide her with experiences she needs.

She’s close to the final stages before independence, and we’re so pleased to have the partnership of the faculty and staff and students at Hillsdale College for this stage. But I do look forward to the next time I get to walk with my little girl.

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