What are the five greatest days of your life? If you are a parent—with few exceptions—your list will most certainly include the day you welcomed a child into the world. Welcoming a child into the world is woven together with amazing, magical and scary.
A day engrained in your memory and brought back to life every time you think about the flood of emotions that swept over you the first time you held your son or daughter.
Moms grasp the true reality of the moment much more quickly than dads. I was reminded of this fact when I saw a picture of a young couple standing on the beach holding their barely week old newborn. The father captioned the picture, “Starting to get this dad thing down.” That was exactly what I was thinking.
Yes, we dad’s are confident we are going to get “this dad thing down” quickly. Confidence that later manifests itself in memories of our early fathering performances that reads like a script for a made for television movie. We have boldly reframed every “dumb meets dumber” moment into something that yields spontaneous laughter from our wives.
Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they’re already asleep.
—H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Eventually, we will admit we never really get “this dad thing down”. It seems to me that just about the time we are starting to get the hang of it, understand it and become effective we pack them up and take them off to college.
It is that time of year again. I’ve been there—maybe you have too.
I didn’t know what to expect! Does any parent know what to expect when they take their child to college for the first time? Every experience is different and I do not assume all advice is universal. But there are a few things you can count on.
What to expect when you drop kids off at college.
- A trip to the local Wal-Mart, Target, Staples, Office Depot, and student bookstore.
- Return trips to various stores if you are a long way from home, because you discover more stuff you need. I can assure you that you will most certainly need more stuff.
- A walk around campus just because you are trying to figure out how to say, “Goodbye.”
Finally, before you hug them and kiss them for the last time you will be overcome with a sense of urgency to share a few key reminders and sage advice. You will get your last plug in for getting enough sleep, going to class, keeping up with their studies, and not having too much fun. They will nod their head in agreement, tell you they love you, maybe shed a few tears, and say, “Goodbye.”
Recently, my wife and I were at a dinner with some friends who were about to make the trip to drop their son off at college. They began reflecting on their parenting journey and their the questions were more than rhetorical.
A parents journey.
- Where did the time go?
- Will they miss us?
- Did we equip them and teach him everything they will need to know?
- Will they make good choices?
- How will they adjust to the academics?
- Will their adjustment to college life be easy or difficult?
- How quickly will they realize how much was done for them at home?
- Will they remember the important lessons we taught them?
- If they are homesick, will they tell us?
My wife and I ran this race. My recollection of “drop off” day left me an observation about parents. We appear to fall into one of two categories. The first is the parent who loves their role as a parent and would like to hold on to the role. While proud of this exciting step, these parents will shed more than a few tears as they think about how this part of their parenting journey has come to an end.
The second category is the parent who is excited and looked forward to this day—milestone goal reached. This is a day to celebrate because their child is out of the house and nearer to being fully independent. Maybe too, as one dad excitedly expressed, “I can’t wait to come back for Dad’s Weekend.
As our friends prepared for their journey to campus, I shared “Letters—Capturing and Sharing Your Vital Wisdom and Advice” with them. A few days later, they called to tell us how much this helped them support their son, his transition to college and their peace of mind.
Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
—Charles R. Swindoll
We never stop being parents. As I write this post, it’s my oldest sons birthday. Today, Matthew turns 27! When I visited him during his time at law school, I was looking around his apartment. I walked into his bedroom and noticed his bulletin board. Down the right side of the board he had pinned notes and reminders I had sent him.
He walked in and noticed me looking at his bulletin board. “Dad, you don’t know how much I have relied on your words of wisdom and encouragement to help and guide me.” I had no idea how much he was listening and paying attention. I am so glad I didn’t allow the silence to discourage me from dripping love and encouragement.
I am steadfast in my purpose—provide tools and resources to help you maximize your impact with the people you love, teams you lead and causes that stir your heart. Our roles as parents evolve and change, but we never stop being parents.
A baby is born with a need to be loved – and never outgrows it.
—Frank A. Clark
Question: What one piece of advice would you most want to pass along? You can leave a comment by clicking here.