What Every Parent Ought to Know About Sending Your Child Off to College (Part 2))

In Part 1 we considered commencement, a beginning… we reminded you that everything changes and that’s a good thing while acknowledging some things never change.. and finally in an effort to raise self-governing adults we suggested you ask lots of questions rather than give quick answers. In Part 2, we want to continue our discussion by recommending one of our favorite traditions we have with our kids.

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Gotta love those candy leis!

  • Send them off with a blessing and a rite of passage. We will write more about this in the future but consider creating an intentional time to bless your child (publicly if possible) and to speak some words of wisdom and affirmation into their life prior to them heading off to school. We should speak words of blessing throughout their life, but key moments like this are wonderful times to apply what Gary Smalley and John Trent suggest in their book, The Blessing.
    • Meaningful touch
    • Spoken word
    • Express high value
    • Picture a special future
    • An active commitment on your part

A rite of passage would simply be a time to gather men or women around your child to speak words of wisdom and affirmation into your graduate before the leave home. It’s especially effective when you mark the event with something for them to keep, a reminder or memorial.

  • Karen Seyfert gave some advice to moms as their kids are leaving home, but this certainly applies to dads as well:
    • How we send them off exposes a lot about our relationship… with Jesus… with our spouse… with our other kids
    • Be joyful – you might not always feel it, but don’t burden your child by moping around and acting depressed. We want them to know they will be missed, but in an appropriate way.
    • Continue to serve others in ministry – life and ministry don’t stop because our child is gone… again don’t make your child carry the burden of your ministry.
    • Advise sparingly – this is a season your child will be learning to fly. Fight the urge to call and offer advice. It is much more welcomed when they are asking for it… and even then, ask questions!
    • Pray faithfully – We said earlier, the stakes are higher… so our prayer life needs to get more intense!
    • Live purposefully – life has changed, it’s not over. Continue to have goals and vision and purpose for your life and the life of your family.
  • Finally, be proactive about re-entry. If your child goes away to school, life is going to change drastically for your child… but also for those of you left behind. Talk about what their return might look like ahead of time. Don’t wait until your young adult returns home for Christmas vacation to consider things like curfew, or the use of the car, or checking in. Kelli is going to share some practical insights in her next “Koffee With Kelli”.

What an exciting time of year! What an exciting season for our children!