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 →

Holding on to our hope

hope

As we lean ever further into this idea of “letting go” of our agendas for our daughters and sons, there is a point at which we can find the core of our hope.  I don’t believe we can parent without having some basic hopes for our children: hope that she will be healthy, hope that he will be successful, hope that she will live a meaningful and productive life, and our list of hopes can go on and on.

The poem below presents the same question in a different form; an opportunity to see and experience our daughters and sons differently.  When we encounter the invitation to do the work of letting go of OUR agendas – and it is OUR work – we may find that Continue reading →

What’s My Role?

leave it to beaver

As we consider again (and again, and again) the perpetual invitation to examine the ways in which we bring a sense of intention and purposefulness to being a parent, it is essential that we look at the parts we play in our children’s lives.

In my College Parent 101 presentation, I pose the following question to parents: “What roles do you hold with your daughter or son?”  Another way to view this might be: “What roles define your relationship?”  An additional way to consider this might be to ask, Continue reading →

Releasing our grip

letting go 2 hands.blackwhite

There is, in this transition process a need to recognize opportunities to release our grip on the lives (read: Agendas) of our children. This process is filled with so much; filled with so many of the hopes and dreams we may have had for them since infancy.  Some of our resistance to release around this “letting go” process may have to do with our fear of whether we’ve done the job we set out to do – to raise a competent person to make her way in the world.  That’s really OUR fear to attend to.  But it is important – NO, it’s vital – that we recognize that this is a necessary part of the process for each of us.

If I have a dream or hope for my child that is not yet (or may never be) realized, that is an important invitation for ME to ask if I need to release this, in order to for me to be the parent my child needs as his needs change.  My holding on is one of the key stumbling blocks to relationships moving forward emotionally, relationally and spiritually.

The poem below speaks to this in ways that only a parent would really understand.  I find the poet’s sensitivity to the nuances of “Naming the Baby” to be spot on to the very heart of this transition process.  I’m hopeful that her imagery here helps you “see” this in a new and deeper way.

Peace, Dane

When you are dreaming of the name
you are also dreaming of who they
might be. They are invented in darkness —
under cloak of skin — and, for the better
part of a year, are a swelling
or a set of symptoms. The name
books are like a box of chocolates
and when you open them you see
how many kinds there really are.
There are names of people you
have known and disliked and names
that make the wrong sounds and names
that suggest your child will be
like everyone else’s. There are names
that turn your child into a character
in a novel and names that recall
the time when your great grandmother
was young. Naming the baby is a way
of dreaming about a creature who is
almost but not quite. It is a way of
imagining the soul of a person you
are making but have not made.
The name is the first way you see
the baby: their title, the syllables
that conjure a shape from the lantern.

“Naming the Baby” by Faith Shearin from The Empty House. © Word Press, 2008

Continue reading →

Help moving…

move in day

I rarely give attention on College Parent 101 to anything resembling a business, but I am glad to pass on to you some information you may find helpful both physically come Move-In Day, as well as an intriguing work opportunity for your daughter or son to consider.

Bellhops is changing the way young people move…with college students. Bellhops started as a collegiate moving service at Auburn University in 2011, is now a nationwide moving solution serving 121 cities across the country. Bellhops, is a tech-based service and contracts over 8,000 college students to provide small-scale moving services to their local communities. Their market: other students, young professionals and anyone else needing simple moving help.  As opposed to traditional movers requiring you to use a quoting process, as well as deal with hefty hourly minimums, Bellhops can be booked in under a minute on-line, and only charge you for the amount of time they actually work for you.

Bellhops empowers student ‘Bellhops’ to work.  For example, when someone books a move in Nashville, all 110 Bellhops in Nashville get pinged on their smartphone notifying them of an available job. The Bellhops are able to ‘claim’ the job from their mobile device if they wish.  The Bellhops pick up jobs on a first-come basis, which is why they provide such high levels of customer service; creating a powerful dynamic…Bellhops who choose to serve you.

For many of you who have students in college, you may want to take a look at their website (www.GetBellhops.com) to see if they are operating in the city your student is living in or even if you need help locally.  Whether you want your daughter or son to apply for a great flexible job, or just don’t want to deal with moving them for the rest of their college career, it is worth giving them a look.

I have asked for a discount for CP101 subscribers, and the Bellhops team has graciously offered 5% if you use “CP101” as your code.

I hope this makes some of the transition “move” more smoothly!

Peace, Dane

 

The Core of the “Family Blessing”

hands

 As I again enter into the Orientation season, I am reminded of the power inherent in the core of what I call the “Family Blessing.”  The core of this message is focusing on building self-competency for your daughter/son: that she/he can do this, and that she/he is not alone!

Each student has “landmarks” in his journey, often people, who helped guide him to this pivotal point.  Each landmark – a family member, friend, neighbor, or mentor — took a sincere interest in helping guide his journey, and as such, each person has a vested interest in his success.

I believe it is essential to Continue reading →

What I wish someone had told me….

picking a road

I recognize that at this point in the college transition process, there are questions that parents have, and there are questions that students have.  Some of those questions overlap and some are inherently different.

While I typically address the questions parents may be asking, I sensed it might be helpful for parents to hear with their students about the questions that some rising freshman may not yet know how to articulate. Many of these questions are around core identity issues, such as; will I make friends, will I do OK academically, will I miss home, and Continue reading →

Millenial snapshot…

snapshot

For parents of soon-to-be college students, and those veteran parents among us, you may find this recent article based a Pew Research Center study of Millennials an interesting and insightful read.  The societal and cultural gap between those of us with children in this “category” and the world we grew up in is like comparing apples and moon rocks…

http://www.rtohq.org/news/536/15/STUDY-In-debt-but-upbeat-Millenials-in-Adulthood/