Seems like it wasn’t too long ago that I was shedding tears of sadness from one eye and tears of joy from the other as my sons traded life at home for life on campus. If your adult children are students, perhaps you can relate as you help them gather supplies, set up a living space, and get transportation needs in place for a new semester.
We may tend to assume that by this stage our children are ready for the challenges ahead as long as material things and financial resources are in place. And yet, there are other tools we can give them to encourage their success as they meet the challenges ahead—both in and out of the classroom.
No matter what their age, no matter if they are traveling far away to school or continuing to live under your roof, consider how you can help them cultivate these life management tools in their own lives as you model them, as you share from your own life experiences, and through your encouraging words. You won’t need to tap your bank account. Just draw from the love and wisdom God has given you to share as you pass these tools along.
1. Positive self-image. Children of all ages need to hear they are special and that they are loved and valued for who they are, not just for their accomplishments.
2. Courage. They will face tough challenges, in and out of the classroom. They must learn how to tackle difficulties; and they need to hear our acknowledgment when they do.
3. Confidence. When they hear, “You can do it!” they’ll more likely echo, “I can do it!”
4. Resiliency. Our children will fall down. We all do. However, they don’t have to stay down, if they learn how to bounce back. We must encourage them to pick themselves up, assess what happened, make necessary corrections, then draw on their courage and hope from within to move forward.
5. Respect, kindness, friendliness, patience, self-control and forgiveness. These are important building blocks of relationships—friend with friend, student with teacher, parent with child. As we give them these gifts ourselves, we model what they can offer others.
6. Stress management tools. The demands of school, the challenges of managing life independently, even new opportunities and new relationships can be stressful. Share with your children positive tips for coping with stress in healthy ways to avoid becoming overloaded, overwhelmed, and overdrawn.
7. Awareness of God’s constant presence with them. Our children can draw a sense of comfort and confidence in knowing God is with them and has promised to help them manage life’s challenges as they draw close to Him, seek His guidance, and make choices that will honor Him.
8. Our love and encouragement, along with our prayers. Our children need to know that when life knocks them down, we will be there for them, just as we will when they celebrate success. They also need to know we will lift them up in prayer to the Lord each day.
Now it’s your turn:
What words of wisdom and guidance are you sharing with your college students as they embark on this new school year?
How are you encouraging these traits in your adult children?
What tips would you offer other parents who want to support their children toward a successful school experience?