Holding on to our 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”


 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…


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…




Peace for the Journey: At the End of the Year

summer stream

As the academic year winds quickly to a close, there is much to process. As part of the end of the year/semester closing process in the academic world, we are regularly processing assessment tools to gauge feedback to help us confirm what we may already know, as well as learn things that we may not have been aware.

In the on-going cycle of parenting our students, I believe it is helpful to assess how we are doing, no matter their stage of development or our vantage point on parenting.  At this point in the year, you might want to ask yourself questions such as, “How did I do parenting my student through this academic year?”  “What did I learn from what went well, and Continue reading →

The Effort to Listen


In the next few weeks, our students are coming home. They will be, as predicted, different people than the ones who left last fall.  They will be filled with new ideas about the world, about themselves, and likely about you: Mom &/or Dad.  Those new ideas can be both refreshing, exciting to engage in, and can also be a bit scary.  “Who is this person sitting in front of me?  She looks like my daughter, but I don’t recognize her anymore?

One of the many things s/he is asking of us is to listen to who s/he is becoming.  Its hard to listen when we feel fear about how things change; especially when it is a relationship we care about deeply.

We all suffer, at times, from the effort to fix or give advice rather than to listen. Theologian Paul Tillich puts it this way, “The first duty of love is to listen.”

So often when we refuse to listen, we become obsessed with remaking the world in our own image, or the way WE want it to be, rather than being open in our spirit to what is real and asking us to listen to the truth before us.

In the words of a Native American Elder, “To truly listen is to risk being changed forever.”

  • As you sit with this idea, can you bring your awareness to your propensity to fix or give advice?
  • Can you allow your breathing to loosen your hold on your efforts do or say something?
  • What do you feel about listening so deeply and attentively that you risk being changed?  

Peace, Dane

Money, money, money….


This is the season for those soon-to-be new college freshman to finalize decisions about their home-away-from-home.  And, for many, that decision involves a financial package that either makes the ‘dream school’ within reach, or the secondary list.

The link below was passed to me this week from an affordable education advocate (thanks Lauren).  If you are still looking for scholarships funds for freshman or a senior, I think this would be worth your time to peruse.  There are funds available from what might seem some unlikely sources.

Happy hunting!