Saturday, April 15, 2006

College Search Calls for Mutual Maturity

Posted April 15, 2006
It has been a particularly beautiful week at American University, though the beauty of the blossoms on trees that adorn our campus always means, for me, a bout of allergies. Springtime brings not only cherry blossoms but throngs of prospective students and their parents. When I did the ‘college tour’ many years ago, I traveled with a friend. There were no accompanying parents and no tours, except the explorations we created for ourselves. Now college and university visits are a family affair. Touring groups are lead by “Ambassadors,” volunteer students who present the campus to prospects and parents from their own perspective, enriching their descriptions of buildings, programs and other highlights with personal experiences.

Viewing these groups motivates me to quote from a column with the same title as this blog, written my friend and sometime counselor Margaret, “Peggy” Treadwell. Peggy writes:

“Family stories often prove that the only thing worse than not getting one’s heart’s desire is getting it. The perfect university may prove too demanding or the last choice might provide ideal nourishment for the mind and soul. There are thousands of schools from which to choose. Principals, teachers and college counselors lament the attitude that there are only a few worth considering.

“So what if the envelope is thin, with disappointing news? Parents then have the divine opportunity to acknowledge God in the process by making sure their child hears unconditional love. This does not mean overprotecting them from pain but rather letting them have their own disappointment – its part of life – with the knowledge that you are walking along beside them as an affirming supportive fan.

Peggy concludes with the following passage from William Martin’s The Parent’s Tao Te Ching (William Morrow, 1999)

“Live your own life
With all your heart
With all your mind
And with all your soul.
There is no need to live theirs.
They will do that wonderfully by themselves.


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