Year in the Life of a Freshman: November


Transition Issues

  • Excitement about Thanksgiving break
  • Talk about your expectations around family traditions & rituals
  • Registration for spring semester is coming up

Tips for Successful Parenting

Phone calls about low grades, difficult relationships or ruining a favorite t-shirt in the wash may be tough for you to hear, but none of them are the end of the world – yours or hers.  Be patient when you get those “nothing is going right and I Continue reading →

The Heart Stays Open ~

heart image

“God breaks the heart again and again until it stays open.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan

I am struck by this statement.  I knew it once only by assertion, but was then taught by life to know it deeply through experience.  We are, especially as parents, regularly “invited” to this vulnerable place – this place of offering our heart again and again.

I am grateful for the insight Laura Kelly Fanucci lays out before us here in the endless invitation to offer our open hearts…

Blessings on the Journey!  Dane

When Success Leads to Failure…

Periodically I bump into articulate explorations of topics near and dear to the heart of this on-going conversation about how we attentively partner with our college-aged children.  There are more than enough articles in the public conversation detailing the negative ripple-effects of helicopter parenting (many of which are based in a finger-wagging shame that I don’t sense really adds value to the conversation).

Fortunately, there are also thoughtfully pieces with the quality of what I’ve begun calling a “healthy emotional archeology” – that is, writing that leads to a deep consideration of the personal and cultural dynamics of this thing we call parenting.

I find the Atlantic article below to be one of those.  It has a grounded criticism alongside what I find to be thoughtful and helpful questions that can bring us back to our own story as well as the larger cultural story and the ways we may have each, at least implicitly,  made some small contribution to it’s narrative.

I would invite you to consider the issue for yourself and your children, as well as the larger cultural ethos the author shines a bright light on.

As always, Peace on your journey…


A Year in the Life of a Freshman: October


Transition Issues

  • Time management & setting priorities
  • Mid-term projects and expectations of academic performance
  • Missing home and old friends

Tips for Successful Parenting

Write often – postcards, letters, emails, it all matters!  Although your student is in the throws of new experiences they are still anxious to hear from home.  There isn’t a student alive who won’t get excited about a care package from home full of Continue reading →

Fostering Grit & Resilience…


As regular readers of CP101 would tell you, I’m always on the lookout for the myriad ways in which this on-going conversation about relationship transition takes place.  It’s certainly not a new conversation, as I hear echoes of it throughout literature, poetry, story and film.

I watched the new film “Ride,” written and directed by acclaimed actor Helen Hunt recently.  It was a fascinating look at the unprocessed pain of a parent working itself out and through her relationship with her son who was in the process of transitioning from high school to college.  It was hard to watch and yet Continue reading →

A Year in the Life of a Freshman: September


Transition Issues

  • New relationships
  • Testing new freedom
  • Money, Money, Money

Tips for Successful Parenting

Being homesick is often just as much of an issue for you as a parent as it is for your student.  The first few weeks of college are packed with events to help students become engaged in campus life.  The challenges of meeting new people and learning the campus culture take time and energy.  Even if they don’t Continue reading →

A Year in the Life of a Freshman: August

The following is a month-by-month walk through the major transitional issues in a fairly typical freshman year.  Certainly these will look a little different from student to student, but after many years of observation and experience, these major themes remain fairly consistent.

Following them to the letter won’t assure you and your student a trouble-free year, but, hopefully, knowing what to expect might minimize the anxiety just a little; for both of you.


Transition Issues

  • Excitement & Anxiety about the unknown
  • Making sure reminders of home are packed
  • Celebrate the transition from High School to College
  • Conversations about Alcohol & other drugs

Tips for Successful Parenting

This is the most significant transition in your student’s life to date.  It presents a great opportunity to Continue reading →

Learning the Bicycle

learning to ride

In the spirit of looking from every angle as this idea of Letting Go, I offer another poem for us to consider; this one by Wyatt Prunty, called Learning the Bicycle.  I have, since the inception of CP101, been posing varying ideas for parents to consider regarding what Letting Go truly asks of us.

For veteran readers, we know that this idea of Letting Go is more about OUR work of letting go of OUR agendas for them – our “shoulds” – that are at the core of what hold our daughter & sons in a place of reliance on us and the ways that this inhibits their ability to become healthy and self-reliant.  These “shoulds” also hold us as parents back; perpetually connected to the roles we have occupied in our children’s early years, but must be relinquished so that we too might be free to be our best and fullest selves.

So I offer Prunty’s poem here as an image of what this process feels like; what the bicycle process can offer us as a teacher to do our best work as parents, and to offer our children into the teaching of their own lives.

Learning the Bicycle
by Wyatt Prunty

The older children pedal past
Stable as little gyros, spinning hard
To supper, bath, and bed, until at last
We also quit, silent and tired
Beside the darkening yard where trees
Now shadow up instead of down.
Their predictable lengths can only tease
Her as, head lowered, she walks her bike alone
Somewhere between her wanting to ride
And her certainty she will always fall.
Tomorrow, though I will run behind,
Arms out to catch her, she’ll tilt then balance wide
Of my reach, till distance makes her small,
Smaller, beyond the place I stop and know
That to teach her I had to follow
And when she learned I had to let her go

How to Raise an Adult

How to Raise an Adult

A cadre of new publications is coming to market based on growing research evidence of the long-term effects of what we’ve come to know as “helicopter parenting”.  There has been anecdotal evidence for some time; be it comments from teachers or the railing of cultural commentators, that this “hovering” style of parenting teaches kids reliance that minimizes resiliency, or an inability to trust decision-making abilities.

The piece below is an excerpt from a new text which gleans some of the current statistics from academic institutions themselves as to the day-to-day effects of this dynamic.  I have been talking about this from one angle for a number of years: my own experience as both an administrator and faculty member in the ways I see this present in the lives of those students I interact with daily.  It is another thing, and at another level, to recognize the gravity of what this is doing to and in our rising generation of leaders, AND, I sense the weight of responsibility we (parents) bear for the context we have created.

So, I leave you with this piece; to wrestle with the issue on a large scale, and to engage with your individual contribution (as I’m doing) in the life of your daughter or son. Continue reading →

Financing Sense – A Syllabus…

piggy bank

As the price of higher education becomes more expensive year after year, it becomes incumbent for both parents and students to be more informed and savvy about finding ways to make this dream more accessible and less costly over time.  It’s a daunting task for most families; especially for those students who will absorb the primary responsibility of financing their own education.

I’m grateful to one of our readers (thank you Brandi) for the link to the following graphic from  It is a comprehensive and thoughtful treatment of a long-term relationship with finance and debt of college expenses, and ways for students to begin a life of negotiating the intricacies of the financial marketplace.

I might suggest that you sit down with your student to walk and talk your way through this step-by-step process of considering the ways your family’s unique financial situation will come to play as your student begins the college experience.