because life has ups and downs…
I’ve sent two of my three kids off to college in the last four years, so I kind of think of myself as a pro at this.Two successful transitions. Two first year survivals. A few tears, but nothing out of control. Mostly, the new chapters were met with smiles and positive attitudes. Our son heads back to his sophomore year this week. Our oldest daughter graduated from college last Spring and started the next phase of her life.
When both kids were getting ready to head off to college, I felt this need to impart some kind of wisdom to them. I really knew in my heart that my husband and I had done the work to prepare them for that step. They knew our expectations and standards. They understood our beliefs. They were smart enough to follow a recipe and knew when to clean the shower. They could use Google if something really stumped them. It wasn’t those day to day things that worried me. It was life, just life. It could be amazing and scary, often at the same time.
I wanted them to have something that they could drag out in the dark of the night to read through their tears and hear my voice. Although I hoped every day of their college experiences would be full of fascinating professors and issue-free roommates, I knew that there would be days that were just plain tough. Those were the days that I would normally want to serve up a dish of wisdom with a side of Ben and Jerry’s. Those were the days that I wished I could be with them. Since that couldn’t happen, we did the next best thing.
We filled a laminated poster for our son with movie quotes that made statements he needed to remember. Kind of fitting for a guy who sees just about every movie on opening weekend at the theater. Everyone in the family chose a quote and wrote a personal note to him. We printed it on a bright orange paper that reflected his light, witty, warm personality. We wanted him to remember who he was and that God has amazing things in store for him to share with the world.
For our daughter, my husband and I crafted a checklist of things to remember as she navigated this world. Our bits of wisdom illuminated things that we felt were crucial to living a life full of love, hope and faith. We printed it on beautiful pink paper with white curlicues that was sweet, yet elegant, just like her. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw that poster hanging on the closet door in her dorm. She found the perfect way to keep those ideas front and center in her daily routine.
Maybe some of the thoughts we shared with our daughter will resonate with you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent facing the college send-off, a student leaving home for college or a person looking for answers and living life. Take whatever works for your situation and remember it during those times you need some words of wisdom and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s.