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Monday, June 22, 2009

The Revolving Door Policies for College Students Home for Summer

Do you yearn for your college-bound student to return home for the summer but begin to feel guilty as you look forward to the Fall when they go back to college. Do you wish Fall wasn't so far away? Do we have the same feelings with regard to our younger grade schoolers and high schoolers? Do you wonder where the connectedness went? How was it that we felt so in tune and harmonized to our little children but disconnect with our teens and older children? Is it natural to disconnect or is it a social expectation?

While I don't have answers for these questions, you may be interested to know that it's natural that just about right now many families begin to have adjustment problems with their home-bound students even while loving the fact that they are home once again. Furthermore, the "key lecture" we give our returning students during these adjustment periods often center around the following: reminding him/her that the world does not revolve around them, reminders to consider a "family" schedule, reminders of how to act appropriately around younger brothers and sisters; reminding our college-bound student to be "others" centered, rather than primarily self centered and self focused; reminding them of the importance of family; orienting them back to the family rather than self; reminding them to be helpful around the home rather than to be dependent on other's attention, care, and efforts; reminding them of their spiritual roots, the importance of prayer, Confession and the Church rather than being free-spirited.

These reminders seem especially important around 3-4 weeks after their arrival home. Are lectures orchestrated to occur at this time? No, but the timing of parental lectures is oddly similar; as parents we can "take" a bit of self-centered attitudes from our kids. However; as time goes on and the attitude doesn't "re-adjust" to include others, parents must rise to the occasion and "knock the student off their self-imposed pedestal" by reminding them they are not the center of the universe. This humbling of our students is necessary for their own sake. While we want our children to grow up and become "independent", it is important that we remind them that true freedom and peace comes from discovering and living according to God's will for their lives; peace does not generate in and of the world but from God.

Summer becomes just one more teaching opportunity for parents and one more learning experience for our young adult children who come back home to live. May you all have a great summer. Enjoy those children- life is short. May God Bless you and keep you all safe.