Back to School
Back to school commercials. The sounds of band practice as I drive by the high school. Stopping for runners to cross the street as they train for cross-country season. Teacher friends posting pictures of their classrooms they’ve set up for the new year. And, the list could go on that indicate that it is time for students to head back into the classroom.
As I see these events take place, I reminisce the days of getting my son, Drew ready for school. From the first time he stepped on the school bus as a kindergartener to the time he graduated from college, flashes of pictures and years go through my mind. I recall the many prayers said for Drew especially the first time he drove our car out of driveway as a licensed driver.
Not only are teachers preparing classrooms and parents getting the school supply lists, there are parents who are preparing to take the next step with their child. This step is crossing the threshold of being at home over to the threshold of college days and their child being on their own. It is a very nail-biting time for most parents in this category. The parent knows it is time to let go but also to be concerned and wary about the things of this world that their child will be exposed to.
I know all about the excitement and the butterflies that are taking place in families faced with this new season of life. As the saying goes, “been there, done that and got the t-shirt. After years of activities from late night homework and completing class projects to the countless cross-country events and practices, it was time for Drew to take the next adventure. There were all kinds of questions, and scenarios that would go through my head. Yet, I knew that I had given Drew all the things I could give him and it was time to let him go and place him in the Father’s hands.
Once Jim and I got Drew moved into his college dorm, we said our good-byes. Yes, I held back the tears until we got in the car. Although Western Kentucky University was only an hour drive from our home, it was the longest hour of my life. As we drove home, I said a prayer asking God to guide Drew. I asked God to place good Christian friends/influences into Drew’s path as he attended college.
Meanwhile back at WKU, Drew made his way to the locker room at the athletic building. He was scouting out where he would have to be for cross-country training. As he was looking around, a guy who was in his sophomore year approached Drew. He introduced himself ( Mike). Mike asked Drew if he needed anything. Drew told him that he was just checking out the facility and that he was a walk-on for the cross-country/track team. Mike shared that he was a runner as well and would be one of his teammates and showed him some of the ropes.
In this process, the prayer I was saying in the car was being answered. As Drew and Mike’s conversation progressed, Mike asked Drew where would he be going to church the following Sunday. Drew really didn’t have an answer. Mike said, “you will be going with me.” From that point on, there was no question as to where Drew was on Sunday mornings. Not only did Mike keep Drew involved in worship while at college, he gave Drew tips on how to study the scriptures. Drew and Mike began a Bible Study among their teammates. Drew also became involved in Campus Crusade. Prayer answered. Six years after meeting Mike on that first afternoon at Western, Mike stood as Drew’s best man at Drew’s wedding.
To the Parents
I share this story/testimony because it is uncharted territory for you and your college student. These are the years where unconditional love and listening become so important. Yes, during these years, there were many times I had to bite my tongue because Drew wasn’t doing things they way I thought they should be done. However, Drew learned to figure things out without Mom or Dad standing there telling him what to do. Also, it was the tough times and decisions that God was molding Drew into the man that he is today. As hard as it is, I encourage you to let go and place your college student into the Father’s hands and trust. One needs to surround them with prayer and your child needs to know that you will be there in an instant if they need you. Trust me, they will let you know at 2:00 AM that they need you.
To The Students
To the college student, I share this with you to encourage you, to remember who you are, and that you do represent your family. I encourage you to seek out friends that will encourage you on your faith journey. Not only seek Godly friends but continue to respect your parents. After all, they did raise you and got you to where you are thus far. Also, don’t roll your eyes because Mom wants to straighten your bed or freshen up your dorm room on those first few visits. Just let her sweep or whatever she wants to do because this is the only love language in action that she has known for years. As time goes on, she will learn to arrive and simply visit without wanting to fold your laundry. If Mom or Dad give advice on a certain topic, don’t be defensive but simply listen. Your parents have been around the block a couple of times. Although their ride around the block may be vastly different from the block you are traveling around, there may be some guidance and wisdom in what they are sharing with you. And, realize in a couple of short hours they will be gone.
Into The Father’s Hands
From the first day of pre-school/kindergarten to the first day of college, it is hard seeing your babies step into that big world. It is a world of unknowns for them and for you. Even though it is a world of unknowns, it is important to remember that you have an all-knowing God. He has plans for your child’s future. You simply have to place that future into the Father’s hands and allow Him to guide them. You also need to place yourself into the Father’s hands and ask God to guide you and give the wisdom you need on this journey as well. It does not matter if it is the very first day of kindergarten or college, God’s got this!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11