Sunday Post 84: Go and Grow

Someone recently told me that they had never left their eight year old child overnight. 

“Not even with his grandparents?” I inquired.

“Nope!”  She shared it as if it were a badge of honor.  It’s no badge.  It’s just weird – unless the grandparents are like kid killers or something.

I finally have all three of my girls back under one roof!  Tonight will be our first night in the same house since Sunday, July 15.  That is a long time. 

As much as I missed them while they were out experiencing the world, and as much as I wanted to go pick Stephanie up on her third week of four-week camp, I am so grateful that my kids had the ability to grow.  It’s no secret that I have limitations as a father.  There are simply things I can’t teach them.  But it’s not just because I’m a man and they’re girls.  Part of it is that I am their parent, and they’ll only listen so much.  Part of it is that I have a singular world view: mine.  And as right as it is, they need to compare it to others so that they can formulate their own ideas about how to live life.

DJ is becoming an accomplished sailor through her time at summer camps – a great confidence builder I think.  She certainly wouldn’t have discovered that talent in a family room with a landlubber.

Stephanie has developed incredible confidence.  I’ve told her for years how wonderful she is – but sometimes it means more coming from a 50-year-old camp director she absolutely adores.

Michelle battled homesickness – and won.  She was given the Most Determined award at camp.  Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.  She was recognized because she struggled and overcame.

I’m not sure she would have struggled or had the opportunity to overcome had she been at home sitting on the couch with me. I think I’m just a good dose of comfort for her.

Some of my happiest memories of childhood are from the weeks I spent in Florence, SC, with my grandparents each summer. I’d pump gas at Papa’s service station.  Granddaddy Tanner would take me for a Slurpee.  I remember making a masking tape and shoe polish covered lamp with grandmamma Ham, and I’d lay on Idee’s bed each morning and talk about life while she “put on her face.”

Oh the stories I heard. Oh the lessons I learned.

I don’t want my kids to be replicas of me.  They can do better.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but better comes from experience and experience happens away from my house. 

So let them go, and let them grow.  And then enjoy the heck out of them when they return.

Leave a comment


  1. Wayne

     /  August 12, 2012

    To say nothing of what it does for grandparents! Thanks for sharing your children with us. I hope they’ve learned a little with us like when and where you can hunt fireflies, how to paint a picture on a canvass, and where the nearest CiCi’s is! Dad

  2. Barbara

     /  August 12, 2012

    So glad to hear you say this! I was once told how awful a parent I was to let the boys go off with their dad and granddads to do this such thing.

  3. Helen LaVere

     /  August 12, 2012

    This is SO my life right now with Philip & Derrick both moving out in the same week. Thanks for letting me know I can win an award for struggling and overcoming – and that it IS good that my “men” are ready to go and grow!

    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 12, 2012

      And they’ll come back – over and over and over again.

  4. Victoria

     /  August 12, 2012

    “they can formulate their own ideas about how to live life.” This is mportant for everyone, but especially for girls!

    I’ll be a huge worry wart when my children (that are currently unborn) go to summer camp. I know it’s for the best.
    Great post!

  5. Mel Ham

     /  August 12, 2012

    I don’t know how I would have survived without the help of my mama. She has taught Cam so many valuable things and caved to his every request, most of the time. Purchases like a baby doll when he was three, we named her cupcake (don’t know if he would admit to that now.), learning how to strike matches, discreet wasy to use the outside as a bathroom (only to be demonstrated during field day pre K), countless valuable things. She has also taught him the value of family, God, and what is important. I have fond memories too with my lucy. Staying at her house, going “up the street”, digging in her yard, and us making our own putt putt course in her back yard. Life was simple and sweet then. Thanks for sharing this point. It’s takes a village to raise’em. Love and miss Mel

  6. Aunt Susan

     /  August 13, 2012

    Kudos to the girls for their awesome summer, and a big pat on the back to you for making it through. Good thing the grandparents know where the pizza place is!

  7. Thats one of the problems with living in the middle of nowhere! There aren’t many places we can ship them off to! They start 4H this fall though so hopefully that will open some doors for them! Thank you for sharing!

    • Danny Tanner

       /  August 13, 2012

      4 – H is great! Get them out of the house. Good for you and good for them.


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