Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear: forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty. – Psalm 45:10-11
Parenting teenagers has a lot in common with flying kites. If you’ve ever flown a kite, you know that there is a specific way to make it soar. On the one hand, you cannot leave it sitting on a shelf, protected and never used. That’s not what it were made for; it was made for flight.
On the other hand, stepping into the wind and tossing a kite up, willy-nilly, will ultimately lead nowhere. The kite may tumble in the breeze for a few moments, but ultimately it will crash.
In order for a kite to work properly, it needs to be set aloft in the wind, but tethered with a string to the ground. The only way a kite will truly function as a kite, the only way it can beautifully fly and dip and swoop is when it is placed under some restraint. Total restraint will not do, neither total freedom; just the right amount of tension creates something of singular beauty.
I recently told my daughter, “Your job is to continue to stretch yourself into the wind and discover how to fly. Our job, as your parents, is to discover just the right amount of tension to put on the string to best aid your flight (and keep you out of the powerlines). When it gets really windy, our team effort at being anchor and kite can become treacherous. A significant part of me wants to reel in the line and pull you out of the storms of life, but that isn’t what you were made for. You were made to fly, and Mom and I are doing our best to help you become the best flyer you can be so that when we eventually must let go of the string, you will be able to fly just fine on your own.”