Today is Thursday, August 25, 2016.. my son’s first day of college.
I look at him and realize I am living in another generation. I too, like him, graduated high school and entered college at the age of 17. At that point in my life, I wasn’t totally certain what I wanted to do but I definitely knew I was going to be in the medical field. I’ve always found a level of gratification when caring for others. So, I attended Westchester Community College and graduated with an Associate degree in Radiologic Science. It was one of the best decisions I made. Working in the radiology field has enabled me to tend to people and make a difference in their lives.
I then decided to further my education and enrolled in CUNY Lehman College, just as my son has done. He has declared Accounting as his major. I have to say, this process is all very exciting. I revel in watching my children experience life. I enjoy witnessing, contributing and being part of their journey.
After observing myself, my thoughts and my feelings, I’ve become aware of my level of cognizance. I have not experienced the common anxiety that many parents go through during this time, which reveals to me I am on the right path. I am completely trusting in the journey. Ultimately, I realize that this is my son’s life and that my purpose is to simply love, teach and guide him but most importantly, support him. Support is key, especially during this crucial time in his life. I genuinely understand that he is entering an exploratory time. It is a time of discovery; a time of decision making; a time of building his future.
Generally, kids this age are confused and disconcerted with the transition. It is a major conduit into adulthood and as much as they want to be treated as an adult, they quickly learn that there’s a price to pay for this level of freedom and independence. As parents, we must respect the process and allow them the space for that growth. Their autonomy develops through our ‘letting go’. I know some parents who have a difficult time with this because they’re accustomed to keeping a tight grip on their children, even at this age but this must change and now is the time. We must understand that our children will make mistakes and sometimes enter a state of confusion or fear, just how we do. This is totally normal. The answer is to reassure them and remind them of their boundless capacity. Reassure them that everything will be okay and bolster their confidence with positive strokes. It is conducive to allow them to experience and err. That is the only way they will grow and maturate. Experience solicits observation, discernment, understanding, decision-making, critical thinking, vacillation and advancement for themselves. It would be a huge disservice to keep your parental leash tightened, in attempt to control their lives.
I am glad to know and acknowledge that his life is not mine. I am not his owner. He is my child and I am the vessel. There is a weightlessness in my life from recognizing and assenting this fact. Knowing who I am and my purpose in his life, allows me to interact and co-habitat with him more effectively. I understand that what I resist will only persist, so I aim to be like water, ever-flowing to life’s offerings.
Another thing that I have quickly learned is that no matter how intense I’ve been with teaching and enlightening my son, there will be certain things he still feels differently about. As parents, it is us against the masses. Yes, we are their primary teachers and builders of foundation but ultimately, they will still have varying opinions and perspectives on certain matters because of the exposure they’ve had with the world .. and that’s okay. Sometimes, life lessons will be the teacher they need.
Trust and acceptance is fundamental at this stage for both parent and child. I am trusting in myself as a mother and all that I’ve applied in his upbringing from birth until now. I am trusting that he will implement the tools he has obtained in his life. I am accepting that he will make mistakes, yet trust he will find his way. I am accepting of who he is and who he’s blossoming to be. I am accepting of his choice to attend college and major in whatever moves him.
I look forward to sharing this part of the journey and pray that my son and I are fortified enough to elevate in continual growth and consciousness.
Here’s to the first day of college!
I love you, Nilus.