Doesn’t get much worse than this!

This news story link below appeared on NBC last night (12/29/12).  It is certainly an extreme example of the kind of horror stories we hear about obsessive parenting.  The term “helicopter parents” doesn’t eve come close to describing what you’ll see – maybe “Apache Helicopter Parent” would be more descriptive.

I sense that even an extreme story such as this can serve as a great “check” for all of us to examine the ways in which WE may be pushing OUR agenda with our student.  Can you see it as a reminder to look honestly at the ways you have not “let go” of how you believe s/he should be …. (you can fill in the blank).

Blessings to you for a new year of peace! Dane



The Power of Vulnerability

I sat for a time this Thanksgiving weekend looking at the year that has passed and the little left that remains.  I often find myself doing this around Turkey day because of the concentration of gratitude; gratitude for what my life has become and what it continues to hold open for me.

One of those pieces happened recently.  My wife and I make a point around mid-fall to host the students from my First-Year Seminar course at our house.  The dessert fare always consists of some amazing made-from-scratch brownies and Mexican hot chocolate.  I recognize that this can be a pretty cool thing for new college students – to show up at their professor’s house, meet his wife and dog, and see where he spends his off-campus time.  I know I never had the opportunity until grad school, and then only once.

Our class spends a lot of vulnerable time together, as you might suspect in a course called: The Art of Continue reading “The Power of Vulnerability”

The Spaces in Between

Just as life is made up of day and night, relationships with those we care deeply for, are made up of times of being in touch and spaces in-between.  Being human, we sometimes fill these spaces with worry, or we imagine the silence is some form of punishment, or we internalize the time we are not in touch with someone we love or care about as some change of heart.

Our minds work very hard to make something out of Continue reading “The Spaces in Between”

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:”