May 24, 2019
High school graduation ceremonies are taking place, and even though Carol and I have been through it with all four of our children, we still get a bit nostalgic this time of year. The advantage of having experience is that it allows us to spot the newbies.
The first-born children talk big and act like they can’t wait to get out on their own; but you can hear the uncertainty in their voice and see it in their eyes. Parents of the college-bound students talk confidently about how well prepared their child is to take on the world, knowing that just last week that same child thought his car was in reverse and drove it into the back end of their new SUV.
Thinking that parents of college-bound students might need some advice, here is a Top Ten list, courtesy of my youngest son, Rob, offered in his valedictorian speech from 2010:
- We know you may decide to turn our bedroom into an office or an exercise room, but could you at least have a fold out couch for us when we come home on break?
- College move-in day advice: For the parents of the girls, get a U-haul, trust me – you’ll need it. For the parents of boys, a couple of trash bags ought to do it.
- We can manage our own clothing. Please don’t write our name on our underwear.
- You can follow us around on orientation day, but please – no hand holding or emotional outbursts. We feel awkward enough.
- We would like for you to visit occasionally. When you do visit, please bring food. We like food, and we’re poor. Raman noodles are great but a hamburger every once in a while would be nice.
- Cards and letters are very nice also, but if you include a little cash, I don’t think anyone would complain.
- Mom and Dad, we know you think Facebook and Twitter are cool, but please remember that when you post “I love you” 50 times, everyone we know can see it.
- Once a day is probably enough on the phone calls. We will keep you updated on what’s going on, but please don’t ask us how every class went. Please do call us though – we will miss you.
- Please don’t ask us if we’re homesick…because we are, and that will just make it worse.
- Know that we love you – and we are discovering every day just how much. Up to this point, you have been our guides. Your lessons will stay with us for the rest of our lives. You got us to where we are today, and we thank you for that. Rest assured that you have done your best. You have given us the opportunity to succeed and we are a witness to your love and sacrifice. You are our foundation. We will build on that foundation. Thanks, Mom and Dad.