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From the Director of Parent Relations

We had a great Christmas holiday this year with the boys allhome. I hope you all did as well.  It'swas an adjustment – more dishes, more food preparation and later nights. Iwouldn't change a thing.  If any of youfollow me on facebook, you might have seen a picture I posted of one of mycollege sons, Mark. I came home from work, and he was ironing.  That was something new this Christmas breaktoo.  Our boys have done their own laundrysince middle school – but shirts went from the ironing board to back – never isironing something done to pass the time. I believe the frenzy of school workand jobs coming to a close for a few weeks threw him for a loop and he wasn'tquite sure what to do with himself. However, they are back to school this week – and the pace has picked upalready for them.

Almquist Family

When the boys were packing their things to move back tocampus, I realized how much I truly enjoy them as people, and how much I wasgoing to miss having them in my daily life. Since going to college, they havebecome bigger thinkers. They have ideas that are their own, and not what myhusband and I have given them. They want to challenge the status quo, hold meaccountable for simple living, talk about the presidential candidates and havereal adult conversations about theology, philosophy and what they can do tomake a difference in the world. They have changed, and I love that about theirGeorge Fox experience.

The truth is – now that our children are really adults, theyare moving in and out of our lives and will continue to from here on. They movehome for the holiday, and they move out to go back to school. They move homefor the summer, and they move away to study abroad. They move into our liveswhen things get a little stressful and they need a place to vent their experiences.They move out to a Bruin basketball game and have a blast cheering on theirteam and celebrating with their college family. They move in to talk aboutfuture plans and seek our advice or thoughts. They move out to make finaldecisions about where they will live long term and who they want to spend theirlives with. They move in, they move out.

After a holiday vacation, with long periods of timetogether, it's not uncommon for students to pull further away from family thanyou might expect. One of the challenges they face is the reality they stillwant our advice at times, but they don't think they should need it.  And we as family members will have thepleasure of trying to help them navigate this tension. What our collegestudents need so much is simple understanding. They want our attention andsupport, but not our unsolicited advice. They want to know we as family arestill there, but support them in their independence.

There are a few things we can do as family members tosupport our students in college.

  1. Send letters and cards, and the ever appreciatedcare package. In this time of so much electronic communication – there isnothing quite like a letter from home, a favorite late night snack in the mailor a box full party supplies for a special occasion.
  2. Really listen when your college student istalking – either on facebook, text, phone or email. Pay attention to thefriends they mention, the classes they are taking and the activities they areenjoying.  Referring back to thosecommunicates that you do care about their experiences.
  3. Focus on their strengths, not just theirvulnerabilities. It's easy with the few times you are actually able to have aconversation with your child, to focus on the quick things you'd like to helpthem with. Take time to applaud their strengths and how God is shaping themuniquely for a great future.

Our children still need us as family. However, they need usin new ways. They are moving in and out of our lives and that's a good thing!

Nancy Signature

Send your student a care package
Bon Appetit Management Company provides food service at George Fox University. It also offers a wonderful selection of special packages for your student to honor birthdays, holidays, study breaks, or just to send a special hug from home. To find out more, click here.

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