Monday, August 26, 2013

Children Off to University or College?

I sense that for many women this time of year can be frightening.  Many will be sending a child or more off to college/university.  Some will commute from home others will move out and into residence.

This transition is a marker not only for the child, but for the parents.  If you fit into this category and you feel uneasy, you probably aren't alone.

There are always strategies to put in place to walk through this phase joyfully, though. 

I can't possibly write on this topic in one post, but I want to list a few things I've found helpful as I've navigated this journey with putting 2 of my own in residence:

  • Trust God, once more.  Release them into his care, but trust that he will unfold your next steps too.
  • Don't fear the future of being "without" them (empty nest).  Let things unfold and take a day and step at a time.  Many times it is merely the fabricated picture of this phase that is more painful than the phase itself.
  • Chances are this will be the beginning of a new phase where you will be introduced to new adventures yourself.  I never would have imagined I'd be lugging buckets of items up 4 flights of stairs in a hot residence building with my daughter, son and husband while getting my daughter settled.  This might not have been something on my "bucket" list, but what it signified was there would be many more "out of the box" adventures in the days ahead, not just for the children, but for us as parents.
  • The school year is short.  They will probably be back Thanksgiving, Christmas, reading week and possibly many weekends along the way.  Chances are you'll have them back under your roof every summer. i.e.  It's likely they aren't permanently gone.
  • Picture all the benefits of life without them at home.  Maybe you'll be freer to do more since you won't have to drive them around, share a car, make meals, buy a constant supply of groceries, etc.  Look forward to the changes.
  • Keep in touch by email, phone, texting or Facebook.  Visit their campus and take them out for a meal.  Don't over-do it though.
  • Let them know they are always welcome to come home.  If they shy away from returning home, specifically invite them.  Tell them to bring along new friends if they like.
  • Remember you raised them for this moment.  Be proud of the steps they will take.  Be excited for the fun world that awaits them.  Be a good listener when you do see them. They will probably have a lot to tell you.

I have many more points I could list and you may have a tip or two of your own.  If you are in this phase and feel the need to share your feelings with someone, please email me.  I would be happy to walk alongside you, free of charge, via email.