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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

My son returned from his mission about a year ago, but hasn’t felt at home since then. Now he wants to go and live with two other returned missionaries that are single.  I don’t feel comfortable with his decision.  Am I acting just like a extremely anxious mother?  Please help.

Nancy

 

Answer

 

Dear Nancy,

It is normal for return missionaries to experience some difficulty readjusting.  It seems like just yesterday my oldest son came home from his mission.  I still tease him about the time we went to the store, and I said, “I’ll be right back.  I need to grab something.”

He looked at me a little panicked and said, “You’re not going to leave me.”

I said, “Yes. I am.  This will take some getting used to, I know.”  Then I walked away with a big smile.  He survived.

Our sons are not alone in experiencing a little difficulty and hesitance with this transition.  This phenomenon was mentioned in an Ensign article, When “The Best Two Years” are Over, “I can honestly say it was the hardest transition I’ve ever had to make,” says one returned missionary. “I was prepared to go on a mission, but not prepared to return.” Another returned missionary agrees, suggesting that parents should place as much emphasis on “preparing for life” as on preparing for a mission.”

This brings me to my next point.  It is also normal for mothers to struggle with letting their young men go.  My wife hugged each of our boys when they came home and whispered to them, “I thought this day would never come.”  It can be hard to let them leave again after they have been away for so long, but it is necessary.  As parents, our job is to prepare them for life…life on their own.

If you had told me your son wanted to move in with a girl, or a group of guys known for drinking, I would share your concerns. Likewise, I would be concerned if he lived with you for a few years and showed no desire to move out (this sort of thing is happening more and more in American culture so that some have nick-named it “Failure to Launch”.  That’s not a good thing.)   However, your son wants to move in with a couple of other return missionaries.  That’s wonderful!  That’s normal and natural behavior for his age.

I know you are worried, and it’s hard.  You are anxious because of your great love for him.  Because you love him you would be willing to make great sacrifices for him, right?  This is the sacrifice you must make: encourage him to move out.  It really is the best thing you can do for him at this stage of his life.

Now, life doesn’t come with any guarantees, but I can tell you from my experience, that while this feels like a good-bye, of sorts,  It isn’t.  It’s opening a new door.  An exciting new door where he can continue to grow, get married and add not only a lovely new daughter to your family, but in due time grandchildren as well.  It’s all part of Heavenly Father’s plan and it’s a beautiful plan.  Trust the Lord, and trust your son.

 

Gramps

 

 

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