From the Executive Director

New beginnings …

Regardless of which college year this is for your son or daughter (first, last, or somewhere in between), the start of school always represents a new beginning. Your student arrived on campus a little overwhelmed, full of excitement but also (hopefully) refreshed from the summer and ready to dive into a new year.

It is exciting to think that your child will be challenged in every way here at George Fox – socially, spiritually, academically and emotionally. I say “exciting” because there will be highs and lows, steep learning curves, and the occasional “surprise around the bend.” As parents, we have the opportunity to provide much-needed high-level perspective, encouragement and prayer, as these are the things that will be most needed as your child stretches and grows toward his or her calling and vocation.

As the year begins, how do you feel about your life as a college parent? Parents begin the empty-nest phase as soon as their first child leaves for college, and they continue it until the last child leaves their home. It can take years! As the push-and-pull process of empty-nesting takes place in your life, it’s a great time to think about your own new beginnings! What are you passionate about? If there are a few more hours in your week, how can you intentionally pour some time into your passion and develop some new or expanded interests?

I think it is really exciting when college student and college parent can share the new things they are exploring independently and get excited about how they are growing independently. It’s a seismic shift from the way the relationship functions during the teen years, but healthy interdependence is the goal in the emerging adult-to-adult relationship. Here are four simple guidelines you might use as this shift takes place:

  1. Walk the balance of challenge and support. The balance is in the tension.
  2. Listen with an open mind and heart.
  3. Encourage your college student to do everything he possibly can do for himself.
  4. Make sure to tell her “you’re amazing” – a lot!

I hope you and your student can celebrate new beginnings together this year – new beginnings for both you and your student!

Blessings on the journey,

Sheri Philips
Executive Director of University Relations