The Show Notes from DadPOD episode 006:
It’s late April. School is finishing up in the next month or so. And, as school finishes for the year, many students will be concluding their high school careers and be launched into the next stage of life, likely post high school education. This transition is good, it’s right but it’s difficult. It signifies a permanent change in the household and family.
In this episode of the DadPOD, I recall the launch of our first of three children from high school into college. They had college prep courses but we had to prep for college too. Not going but sending. It was a time of great pride at what my son/children accomplished to get to that point but also a time of sadness because our lives would never be the same again. It was about this time 7 years ago that I began preparing a video slideshow of my son’s life up to that point. As I searched, scanned and placed pictures into the slide show, many tears fell as a flood of memories swept through my mind. I thought I had cried myself dry by the time we drove him up to school in August. But, after moving him into his first dormitory and turning our van around to head home, the tear ducts had refilled and began spilling down my cheeks again. I already missed him and we hadn’t even left campus. It was a looooong ride home.
When we arrived home, a little somber, it was time for bed. But, I took a stroll around the family room. I sat down on our couch and I could feel my body tense and almost had an anxiety attack as I realized that my son would not be coming through the door later that evening, like he had done so many times before. I was facing the reality of launching our child to his next phase of life.
As we enter the same period nearly 7 years later, I thought about that experience that I would go through two more times for my daughters and what could I glean from it to share with others. That is the content for this episode of DadPOD. I shared 7 things that contributed to helping us launch our kids in a way that would give them a reasonable chance to succeed in this next phase. Certainly, they made many of their choices to get to the place they were heading. But, moms and dads play such critical roles to the success of children moving into that phase of life with a sense of confidence and tools needed to give them every chance to succeed.
These are the things that I shared in this episode to help you as you prep for college bound kid(s) and YOU TOO!
- Prayer. As a dad, I prayed for our children from before they were born. Then, after they were born and grew, I spent a few moments every morning on my knees in front of each child’s bedroom door. I prayed basically the same thing every morning: Remember, your children are only on loan to you. Steward them well, release them intentionally.
- For their salvation and personal relationship with Christ
- For friends to grow up with that would help them grow in that relationship with Christ
- For a spouse that would love God first and then, my child with all of their heart, mind and soul and,
- For a career that would utilize their God given gifts, abilities and passions to glorify God no matter what the actual work they performed
- Consider your spouse. Especially, if she’s been a stay at home mom for a number of years. The launch is much more emotional for a mother because of the bond, especially for sons. And, if this is your last child and your wife has not worked much out of the house, spend time helping her prepare for LATKAL (Life After The Kids Are Launched). Finally, make sure you are investing in your marriage all along. When the kids are gone, your marriage will be tested for what it is or isn’t. Too many divorces happen because the kids were the only thing a husband and wife had in common. This shouldn’t be!!
- Plan something special with the departing child the summer before they leave. Even if they are commuting or going to work after high school. Mark the event as a milestone. This helps them to assume the necessary responsibility they will need to have as they work to becoming full fledged adults. Too many kids are at home in their mid-late 20’s and haven’t moved out of adolescence because mom and/or dad haven’t made them become responsible adults. This is good fodder for a future podcast but, make this a special event kind of marking the end of one phase and the entrance into the next.
- Prepare a memory maker. It could be like the video slideshow with graduation music I created for each of my children or a framed mosaic of their life in photos. Create something that you can give to them and to yourself as a visible reminder of what they have meant to you and how you have seen them grow and mature.
- If circumstances are such, plan a group event. This could be a father/child weekend getaway if you have a group that’s been close and grown up together. It could be an open house celebration to share your child’s accomplishment with others and let them share how much they’ve seen your child grow. It could be an extended family only event (family reunion, celebration, etc.). The idea is to set up something meaningful with the sphere of friends and family that have been a big part of your child’s life. This may or may not be something that is relevant for you but if it is, it is a great way to encourage your child.
- They’re still your children; You’re still their parent. This is a bonus tip 😀 Though I didn’t mention it specifically on the podcast, it’s been a great reminder for me that just because they’re gone, they aren’t GONE. It’s just that I now am playing a different role as a father. I began to release my kids as they entered high school. I went from “coach” to “counselor” (see a previous blog post series I did on this subject). I know longer was drawing up the plays for them to run. They were starting to do that and then asking me my opinion. I would continue to offer advice (sometimes unasked 😉 but couch it more in terms of “you don’t have to take this advice but…” Though you are releasing them, you still have a tracking device on them.
That’s it. Those are the keys that I want to share with you. There are a lot more but these are the ones that have served me well in launching three of my children into college, two of them out of college and watching them grow up into wonderful, mature young adults.
The verse we often use that describes one of our key roles as a parent comes from the book of Proverbs. “Train up a child in the way they should go (meaning—the way they are made/their “bent”) and when they are old they won’t depart from it.” Remember, this is a Proverb not a Promise!. They are individuals created in God’s image with their own unique design. They may not understand or employ all the sage advice you give them over the years but they will have a much stronger chance of being respectful, responsible, mature men and women if they are raised in a home that does this job well. Your job is to raise them and release them. It’s good…it’s right…but it’s still really hard!!
The movie, Home Run opens in theaters today. I strongly urge you to attend this film. First, it’s well done and entertaining. Second, it addresses an often difficult subject to discuss with loved ones…addictions. It can be used to discuss the topic in general or with a loved one. Finally, it’s a well done, faith based film. These films don’t have the budget the movies that make it to theaters usually do. So, if you want quality films that you can take your family to and enjoy the entertainment value, you need to support them at the box office. ESPECIALLY OPENING WEEKEND. That sends a message to Hollywood that we want to see more of these kinds of films. See you at the movie! (to find out if it’s playing near you, click the image above and then the tab on the site that will let you find the theaters where it’s playing in your city/state).
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Have a great week.