Sending Our Kids Off to College


This is the time of year when we take or send our kids to college. I can remember both the joy and sorrow of taking my daughter Courtney to Spelman and a few years later taking my son Freddie to the University of California at Irvine (UCI). You spend years preparing them to do the necessary things to get into college by studying and preparing for the SAT or ACT standardized tests, taking the right high school courses, fill-out college admission forms, and taking them on college visits. Then you have to go through the occasional debate about what school will be best or most reasonable to anticipate getting accepted or which school will offer the most scholarship money or student-aid. I must admit I was extremely pleased when my daughter wanted to attend an HBCU and when she received her acceptance into Spelman. Initially, I think I was more excited than her. I was hoping my son would give my alma mater UCLA a good look but I had to be satisfied with him staying in the state when he declared UCI was his choice.


Being a mom or dad is a full-time job that lasts your entire life. Just because our sons and daughters are getting older and slowly becoming adults does not mean that we do not worry about them just like we did when we brought them home from the hospital wrapped in a blanket. As parents, we naturally care about our babies leaving the nest and going out into the cold cruel world without our guidance, direction, and handholding. The good thing is when we look in the mirror and ask ourselves have we prepared them properly, and when we can answer yes, it gives a little sense of comfort. We want to believe we have equipped them with a moral compass that gives them a strong understanding of what is right and what is wrong. You pray that their decision-making skills are fine-tuned and that they realize that there are consequences for all their choices. When living on campus you hope they have roommate skills and will keep their side of the room neat and orderly. We know how much they like to sleep, so we wonder if they will have the discipline to get up on time to make those early classes, and not hit the snooze button too many times. Having social skills is a good thing but we do not want them to be so social that they lose focus on why they are there in the first place—getting an education and a degree trumps having a good time and no diploma. My husband likes to say, “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink. You can send your kids to college, but you cannot make them think.”


My advice is to try and be as positive and enthusiastic about your child going to college, so they do not feel your anxiety and concern, which will make them begin to worry about you. I was more than blessed that my two had exceptional college experiences and earned their degrees. I probably spent too much time in Atlanta to make sure my baby girl was fine, but I could not help myself. Raising our kids with values, morals, and boundaries is important but the best advice I can give any parent sending their child to college is to have them washed in the blood of Jesus and pray they remember everything you poured into them over the first 18 years of their lives. If you need help regarding possible school selections, I highly recommend you connect with Dr. Theresa Price and her team at the National College Resources Foundation.


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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org to learn more. Wendy is a life strategist, coach, consultant, author, and speaker.