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…”

Opportunity is Knocking…

Walking across campus this morning, I saw signs for the Campus Activities Fair.  At this annual fall-semester event, held on campuses across the country, students stroll between table after table to visit with or find information on local businesses, campus organizations and clubs, local faith communities, community service groups and more.  It struck me as I watched hundreds of wide-eyed students full of hope and excitement, fear and curiosity, that this new world into which each has stepped is Continue reading “Opportunity is Knocking…”

Believe in Yourself!!!

As we sit in the new reality that our daughter/son is now off to college, and we are on this end hoping we do “OK” with it all that has and will come, my encouragement is that you both “do it well!”

As parents, we’ve all had some experience we might refer to as “out of the mouth of babes.”  And so, I refer you to a YouTube video that, to me, expresses my hope for all of us – that we believe in ourselves and in our kids, to give this new relationship transition all we’ve got…keep practicing!




Peace for the Journey…

As you look to the rapidly approaching day of departure for the beginning of the Fall semester, there are – if you are paying attention to them – a host of feelings rising to the surface about all that this new beginning represents.

We each embark on any number of journeys in our lives, this one – the departure of your daughter or son to college – holds as much hope and excitement as it probably holds fear and concern.  I’d like to encourage you to take the words of Poet & Philosopher Mark Nepo to heart for both you and your daughter/son, because I believe Continue reading “Peace for the Journey…”