I tried to keep my calendar clear for the weekend. It was fall break at Messiah and visions of family dinners and long conversations about studies and friends and activities had my adrenalin pumping. The boys would be back in town and I couldn’t wait!
We did have one supper together. Within 20 minutes of the end of supper Alex was on the road heading toward Boston to visit a friend from high school who is studying at another college. Andy’s girlfriend was visiting and they had plans to watch a Penguins hockey game on TV. The next day they would leave for a weekend with her family.
Memories began to crowd in. Me as a college kid, arriving at home for a short break, giving mom and dad quick hug and a kiss before picking up the phone to make plans with old friends. Spending a few evenings back at McDonalds where they were always glad to put me on the schedule when I was in town. And then turning around, packing up my suitcase and hardly being able to wait to get back to campus where my life was becoming more and more grounded each semester. Those memories reminded me not to take it personally that my children have very different needs than I do when it comes to their vacations.
Breaks never quite live up to my expectations, but I hope they live up to the expectations of my kids.Filed under Uncategorized | Comment (0)
There’s a familiar saying, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” I have my own version of that wisdom: Fill out your child’s application and it’s mailed in long before the deadline. Watch and answer questions while your child fills out the form, and he’ll learn to do it himself.
One of the hardest things for me to do, as a parent, is to sit back and watch my kids struggle with something I know I could handle in quick order. But that’s exactly why they don’t know how to operate all our household appliances or shop tools. (They HAVE known how to work the washer and dryer for years, thank goodness.)
It’s especially tough when it feels like their future rests on getting forms and applications completed accurately and submitted on time. But by the time they are heading off to college, it’s probably time to choose not the easiest way, but the better way.Filed under Responsibilty, independence | Comment (0)
I’ve known a few people who as children seem to know at a very young exactly what they want to do with their lives, and every step they take is focused in the direction that leads them to their unwavering goal. It makes a beautiful story, but I think that’s pretty rare, actually.
My own children’s dreams have morphed through the years. When he was eight, Alex wanted to work for Lego even if if meant moving to Denmark. For a few years in high school, he planned to become an architect. But after a few drafting classes where he was successful but bored, he decided he wanted to go into graphic design. He’s in his third year as a studio art major at Messiah, and we think he’ll graduate as one. And we think he’ll be happy working as a designer. Will he do that his whole life? Maybe.
Andy, on the other hand, never really seemed to think about the fact that someday he’d be a grown up and have to get a job. His passions included friends and sports. As he approached his college years, we tried to help him think about what kind of career would suit both his natural abilities and his passions. Adventure education? Lots of activity and interaction with people. Elementary education? Hanging out with the young at heart. Youth ministry? Playing and caring, and NOT sitting at a desk.
He remained unconvinced, and we, as parents, felt a little bit of panic because we knew we didn’t want him working at a job he didn’t find satisfying, but we did want him working at a job! Then as we once again talked through the long list of possible majors at Messiah, we came across one we didn’t know much about, sport management.
Bingo! Connected to the world of athletics which he’s passionate about, in a field that’s growing all the time, in a college program that has fantastic opportunities for internships and practical experiences. We felt as though we had found the answer. So far so good!
Being undecided for a while isn’t such a bad thing. It may, in fact, beat thinking you’re sure and then finding out the major you selected is not the one you want to pursue after all. It’s been a process for our children and for us. We know our kids well, and can help them identify strengths and abilities that may point toward a particular career path. But they’re the ones who will have to live with the decision.
Parenting a young adult is not easy. But it is exciting!Filed under Picking a major | Comment (0)