Year in the Life of a Freshman: November

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 →

Leaning into Change

change

When we are asked to change something, we’re likely to encounter a number of feelings: fear and anger are undoubtedly among them. But we may recognize that in the course of our lives we encounter or are asked to change a number of things which, sometimes, without even thinking, we do on a daily basis.

We change clothes – sometimes several times a day. Like it or not, we must change our child’s diapers. We change lanes driving the highway. We change our clocks back and forth each year. We live in the rhythms of the changing weather and the seasons. And, at times, we are aware that our feelings change by the second.

I wonder as I sit with this brief list of changes, among all the others which are now floating across the screen of my mind, what difference there is in my response, and therefore my resistance, to changes which are external (lane changes, which shirt to wear today, etc.) and those which are internal (what is my fear asking of me, do I need to alter my vocation, etc.). My sense of my own varying responses is that there are far deeper feelings about those inner questions of change; feelings that are so much more connected to my sense of myself, my purpose and meaning, and my hope that I do not yet know.

These “invitations” to change or consider change seem to threaten what I have put in place to keep things “ok” – whatever that means – such that I am once again faced with my inability (read: lack of control) to set a course which will not steer me into uncharted waters.

I recognize that this is the territory of fear. Anytime I am entertaining a need to control something/someone, I am now aware that I am feeling fear. It may not be the thing/person I am trying to control, but there is fear in the air. So invitations to change present me with a threshold to cross; a doorway into new space that holds something new which I do not yet know or see.

If I view ALL my fear as “bad”, then I learn to steer clear or avoid these doorways, and I’m aware of a lot of energy I’ve spent avoiding those places in which I have been asked to enter unknown space. But as the years pass, I have – gladly – begun to recognize that the “gift of fear” is learning to pay attention; to be alert, not so much vigilance, but open awareness: actually look for something new, rather than looking out for what to avoid.

I suppose this speaks to a posture, posture of leaning. The recognition I’m speaking of here is a directional one; one that asks me to be aware of which direction I am leaning toward the ceaseless invitations around change. My work then, as I sense it is for all of us, is to note which way I am leaning: leaning away from, or in to?

 

Welcome to the Real World

If you’ve followed CP101 for any measurable time, you know that I rarely endorse a product or an author unless I sense it has direct application to our on-going conversation about the ways we might contribute to our daughter or son’s competency.

That being said, I want to introduce you to a new book: Welcome to the Real World, but Lauren Berger*.  Though Lauren’s target audience is the recent college graduate, much of her perspective and advice comes from her extensive experience with internships.  In fact her company is called: InternQueen.com.  Since internship experiences are a very prevalent aspect to current university curricula, and, with the skyrocketing growth of college-aged entrepreneurs, I sense Lauren has much to add.

Even though the basis of the book is about Continue reading →

A Year in the Life of a Freshman: October

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 →

Learning to Play ~

learning to play

I ran across a great article from NPR recently which seems to me to have a notable bearing on our conversation about what we believe to be true about ourselves and about others; particularly about our children.  I sense it merits our consideration.  I’d be intrigued to hear from you about how this strikes you…

http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2014/06/30/326935808/three-psychological-findings-i-wish-i-d-known-in-high-school

Longing to Leave

empty nest

The following is an excerpt from Irish writer/poet John O’Donohue from his book, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong (italics added).

I hear in John’s words the very heart of the message of what it means to parent well and to be an attentive human with strong intention. May his words serve us well…

Peace, Dane

“The loneliness and creativity of being a parent is the recognition that family is inevitably temporary. Good parenting is unselfish and, to encourage independence in a child that has received unconditional love, acts to reinforce the sense and essence of belonging.  Nothing, not even departure, can sever that intrinsic sense of belonging.  Children are created to grow and leave the nest.  Family provides the original and essential belonging in the world.  It is the cradle where identity unfolds and firms.  Such belonging outgrows itself. Home becomes too small and too safe.  The young adult is called to new longing to leave home and undertake new discovery.  The difficulty for parents is Continue reading →

A Year in the Life of a Freshman: September

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 →

Relationship by “Save As” –

Save As

 

As this new academic year begins, I recognize that it is often easier (read: less hard/difficult) to fall back on what I know, or how I have always done something.  I bump into the temptation every year, as I prepare the syllabus for a course I’ve taught a dozen times, to change the dates and hit “Save As”, then move on to the next item on the endless list.

So as I sat with the choice again late this summer.  I was faced with the question of how I might do this very familiar thing differently.  How might I consider another vantage point?  How might the opportunity present itself in ways I hadn’t previously considered?  In what ways might I engage with the students, the material, and my own sense of the experience differently so as to create a different outcome?

I did, ultimately, completely retool an assignment.  Time – and the student’s experience with it – will tell if the retooling is successful, but Continue reading →

For a New Beginning…

multiple doorways

In light of my regular admonition to speak an intentional “Blessing” to your daughter/son as s/he move across this significant threshold, I find the words here from Irish poet John O’Donohue to be so appropriate and thoughtful; both for the giver and the receiver.

As you consider crafting your own “Blessing”, may O’Donohue’s words serve to help you know what you hope to convey for yourself.

Hear his words: For a New Beginning

In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

From: To Bless the Space Between Us, John O’Donohue:

Doubleday, 2008

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.

August

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 →