The tradition of the arrow started when my first born daughters graduated from High School and continued through this weekend when my youngest walked across the stage to receive his diploma.
Letting go is hard for parents. For our children's whole lives it's our responsibility to protect them, guide them, and nurture them. And then, just like that, they're grown and moving into a dorm room or an apartment and we're just supposed to let them fly. That transition can be hard, on kids, and especially on parents.
I've always been a big fan of symbolism. I need tangible reminders of truth. And so, when my first daughters graduation approached I knew I wanted something tangible to give them to launch them into the new season of their adult life. An arrow seemed appropriate.
"Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one's youth. Blessed is the man who's quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:4-5
Throughout scripture God makes it clear that children are a precious gift. But they are not a gift that we are to have in our possession for all of their lives. There comes a point in every child's life where we as parents need to launch them into adulthood. Arrows are created to be launched into battle. They are created with a purpose, to hit their mark and push back the enemy. An arrow that is kept in the quiver will never achieve it's intended purpose.
As parents it's hard to launch our children into the world. Especially when the world we live in resembles a battlefield. But it's a releasing that must be done. We have to trust that the years they spent with us, being molded and shaped and calibrated, prepared them for this next adventure. We have to trust that the God who loves them more than we do is able to help them stay the course and reach their target. And we have to trust that when they fall in battle that they can be recovered, restored, and returned to the fight.
That's the thing with arrows, they are reparable. Watch any movie with ancient weaponry and you'll see soldiers scouring the battlefield after the fight picking up arrows and returning them to their quiver. Sometimes they need repairing and strengthening before they are fit to return to the battle. But the God we have entrusted our children to is capable of resurrecting the most battle torn of us all.
So... parents, let's launch our adult children. Let's release them to this battle called life. Let's set them on the right course and cheer loudly for them to chase after that target they are so passionate about. Let's pick them up and dust them off when they fall. Then send them back to fight another day.
This weekend my son was handed a diploma from his school, and an arrow from his mom. Both are symbols to prepare him for the next season of his life. And I believe with all my heart that God will use our kids mightily.
Let's let 'em fly!