Mid-term is around the corner…

Mid-term exams are looming!  Most colleges and universities require mid-term grades to be posted for new students.  I am fully cognizant of the host of plausible responses that come in response to students receiving the report of their first college grades.

You may hear things such as:

What? How did that happen!?

A ‘C’ – I’ve never had less than a ‘B’ before…” — “This isn’t fair! 

I studied really hard Dad…the professor is terrible!”

Or maybe…

Wow, I did a lot better than I thought!

These responses are typical as students (and parents) address the stark reality that Continue reading “Mid-term is around the corner…”

Peace for the Journey, Fall

As we move into the beauty of fall, witnessing the world change around us, I can’t help but wonder about the questions we have about how our daughters and sons are changing while away at college.  What is shaping them?  What new ideas or experiences is she encountering that will make her a different than the person I knew?  What challenges is he facing that cause him to Continue reading “Peace for the Journey, Fall”

Peace for the Journey — My Life

As we move into the fullness of the Fall Semester, our kids are away and settling in to this new life; this new world they will soon see as a home of sorts.  I know that I wondered on occasion what my life would look like with the kids gone.  What was this new version of myself? How was I seeing my new identity?

So, as I sit with the poem from Billy Collins (former poet laureate of the US) as he considers his life as it is and wonders Continue reading “Peace for the Journey — My Life”

Hitting the Road

I searched a number of sites today looking for the information being doled out as advice to students moving off to college in the next few weeks: getting along with your roommate, eating well to avoid the “freshman fifteen”, developing a healthy schedule, being disciplined about class – most of them from lists of “10 Steps to College Success”.  I get it; there is a lot riding on this new adventure.  But, underlying all that, important as this kind of information is, there is very little out there about the emotional impact for you and your daughter or son.

Thousands of you will be hitting the road this week to move all those boxes into the new “home away from home.”  As you’re buying supplies, packing boxes, I’d encourage you Continue reading “Hitting the Road”

What am I afraid of?

I spent some time with the graduating class at a local high school recently facilitating a conversation about the things they identified that were the source of their fears about going off to college.  I’m grateful to their college counselors for asking me to join them and their courage to open the dialogue.

Though I’m not surprised they are afraid of going off to this new life; this new version of themselves, it did strike me in a new way what they are afraid of.  My sense is that often when these conversations take place (and I wish there were more), the focus is on what I tend to call Continue reading “What am I afraid of?”

Peace for the Journey…Spring II

I was introduced to this poem at a retreat recently.  I bring it to this on-going conversation about what and how we bring what we bring to our relationship with our daughter/son during this ever-evolving transition.

I find it helpful to ask, “What do I offer in/to my relationships?”  In the words of this poet, do I offer Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…Spring II”

Perspective Check:

As the heart of spring approaches, the end of the academic year begins to come into view.  It can be a good time to step back and take a perspective look on what has transpired since the beginning of the fall semester; evaluate where you are, where your student might be, asking, “How do things look from here?”

I know it is true for me, that I’m often the last person to have a decent perspective on the narrative of what’s going on in my own story – I’m too close to it.  That’s when I know I need to take a step back; when it’s hard to see.  Much of the work of parenting a daughter or son through the college years is emotional.  Face it, we’re deeply invested: relationally and financially.  So much so, that what our student is Continue reading “Perspective Check:”

Peace for the Journey…Spring

This is my new favorite poem!  It captures the part of our human nature that too many times refuses to see what it right in front us.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I              I walk down the street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in.

I am lost… I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…Spring”

What goes ahead of you…

Each week I sit with a group of Freshman in the First-Year Seminar course I teach, entitled “The Art of Paying Attention,” in which we explore the myriad ways in which we might more deeply engage with the internal and external world around us, and how we each pay attention to how we navigate each one.  As a regular practice,  we share silence or a guided meditation together once a week – often, as the students tell me, the only silence or meditative space they have in the entire week.

This week, as we set aside the time to focus our breathing and attend to the demands that are pressing in at this point in the semester, one of the students asked Continue reading “What goes ahead of you…”

Peace for the Journey…

When I begin thinking about writing a blog to talk about the issues, concerns and hopes involved in the transitions we as parents of new college students encounter, I didn’t anticipate it being an on-going posting of poetry.  I sense it won’t always be such, but the attentive voice of poets who have their pulse on both the heart and soul have much to say to those of us seeking to navigate the sometimes murky relational water with our daughters and sons.

So this round, I turn to one of the most grounded persons currently writing – Wendell Berry.  Author, essayist, poet, visionary, and dare I say prophet of what is right in the world and what is wrong.  His keen eye for the simple and profound, often serves to guide my Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…”