It all started last week with Mackenzie going off to an overnight karate retreat, where among other things they climbed a local mountain in their karate gis and trained on top for hours. He came home tired, sore, and extremely happy to have gotten some time to train intensely with a big group of black belts. He will be testing for his brown belt in the fall, which will put him about 9 months to a year away from being able to test for black, so he has gotten very serious and excited about karate lately. As always, I'm grateful when my kids find an activity that makes their body/mind/soul healthier and more fulfilled. For Mackenzie, I think karate is a real gift, and he puts a lot of effort into doing well.
I'm not quite sure how our kids got so grown up and independent. I know that the conventional wisdom says that this won't happen if you don't push for it at a very early age, but that's not how it has worked out for us. Now that the kids are older, I feel compelled to share that all of the parenting books that say you have to wean your kids early, make them sleep in their own rooms while still babies, let them "cry it out" when they need attention, and other "independence-pushing" parenting strategies are simply not true. Kids find independence when they are ready for it. Asa just started sleeping in her own room not all that long ago, but here she is going away for a week with no trouble at all. The truth is, when you allow kids to come to independence on their own terms, what they earn is a true independence that they really own. It's for-real and for-keeps. It's not based on insecurities or worries about how they will be perceived or judged by their parents or peers. My fledglings have flown, just when their wings were ready. And it's fun to watch them fly!