by Aaron Tiger
You might have read one mom’s story of dropping her oldest son off at college. Here’s a companion piece to get you thinking about maintaining a connection as your kids go off to school.
Do you know someone who just started college? Rather, is it your own child or someone you have been connected to over the years. The first month of college is a critical time for students. They are in a new world, with new people, and new freedom. This freedom can help them to solidify their faith or leave it behind. This freedom can help them make great decisions when choosing friends or it can get them into crowds and situations that hold them back. You cannot remove their freedom, but that does not mean that you have to remove them from your life. In fact, they need to know that you still care for them, and here are a few ways that you can show them you care without taking away their new freedom.
- Text them-even if they do not reply. Send them an encouraging text a few times a week. If you know their schedule, send them a prayer as they enter class. If something funny happens “back home” let them know that you thought of them. You do not need to overwhelm them with texts, just send them a note here or there that essentially says, “You are important to me and I have not forgotten about you.” If they don’t text you back, do not get upset. They are just living in this new freedom. If they do not respond it doesn’t mean they aren’t receiving the message.
- Send them a gift card to an online retailer like Amazon. A simple gift card with a note that you know there might be something they need communicates that you trust them to use their freedom wisely.
- Make a trip to take your students and their friends out to lunch or dinner. College kids rarely turn down free food! Let them know that you are coming and tell them to invite three of their friends and choose the place. Again, acknowledge their freedom and be supportive. Use the time to encourage them, not just to judge their choice of friends.
- Give their information to a local campus ministry. Most universities have multiple campus ministries that specialize in helping college students during this season of their life. Look up a local Wesley Foundation, Navigators group, or ask around to find out what campus ministries exist.
Aaron Tiger is a minister at FUMC Tulsa, a dad, a husband, and a child of God. He is the lead contributor for the918.org.