In last week's blog, "EDELBLUM MYSTERY THEATER: THE ELEVATORS DON'T GO DOWN?" I concentrated on the buffoonery of college move-in day. This approach served a dual-purpose. I entertained and educated my followers but also distracted myself from the kaleidoscope of ever-changing separation issues I was experiencing.
Those sentiments and anxieties took a stronger foothold during his first week away. You see, it's easy for a parent to project the shape of their child's college life but in reality, they don't have and shouldn't have tyrannical control over it. So a typical mom and dad might go straight into panic-mode if there is an immediate break-down in communication. To avoid the potential for a parental avalanche of concern, the situation must be corrected. After warnings are given and the student is deemed too far off track too soon, these waves of worries may evolve into a tsunami of hostilities. So a quick and equitable solution has be put in place before a serious wedge develops between the parties.
To soothe the warring factions, more realistic texting, E-Mail and phoning policies must be drawn up and agreed upon, (plus in Andrew's case, we'll get weekly updates from *THE ABSvlog, every Monday). Hence when my wife Sue and I came up a week after dropping him off (yesterday)...not to visit, but to take our little freshman home for the Labor Day weekend, we witnessed what we craved to hear about on a twice daily basis...the early stages of the actual college experience.
* Find Andrew's THE ABSvlog entries on youtube.
Mom and I's communication compromise with our boy netted us a lot less messaging than we bargained for but more than we were getting. So on the way up to get him, we could only hope he was balancing his responsibilities and dealing with all the personal adjustments. Then through the negotiated, greater communication agreement, (Sue called him and had a half hour conversation while we were in transit), we were satisfied with the progress report he provided, (originally, we were holding-out for ten such calls).
In terms of "good parenting," we have learned to pick our battles. By doing so, we were rewarded with the best gift, being welcome to see it for our self.
|IT IS A WONDERFUL THING TO SEE THAT YOUR CHILD HAS A DEEPER GRASP FOR WHAT IS IMPORTANT.|
Most parents make the mistake of getting bogged down by stressing the practical. Such instincts force less aware folks to dwell on their starlings ability to eat well and fly high. But if you have a good kid (and have faith in the ingrained upbringing you provided for eighteen years) you don't need to hammer them with the mundane bits of everyday life like; enough sleep, doing laundry, flossing and locking the computer.
I say let your kid figure the practical out for them self. If they need help, their dormitory's floor leader should be their go-to guy. If that doesn't work, through networking. they have an abundant resource of troubleshooters at their disposal...their freshman cohorts. Even reaching out to friends from home is a positive outlet for advice. Then as a last resort, because you have built this great wall of trust, your kid can feel free to consult with you.
The bigger picture is, you want your kid to simultaneously learn problem solving skills, have fun at school and mature while pursuing their future dreams...or at least work towards establishing those dreams.
For my son, the depth of his networking capacities and fun started when he joined several organizations, (TV station, radio station, DJ seminars, creative writing club, a diversity club and more). On the practical side, I am also confident that he is into a scholastic routine and gung ho about his studies
Andrew had said that he made many meaningful friendships in week one. From the outside looking in that optimistic description sounded exaggerated or at least abstract. But in the ninety minutes Sue and I spent in his dorm, there was a constant flow of drop-in guests taking advantage of the second floor's, "open door policy." Each one of Andrew's neighbors were enthusiastic to be at school and to be around my boy. These kids came in every size and shape and represented a cross-section of the entire globe (but mostly North Jersey).
From his new friends, Sue and I learned of Andrew's exploits and how he quickly cut-out his own niche. The story they repeated happened at a required freshman seminar, (clean and healthy alternatives to getting high on campus). In the packed Kendall Hall theater, full of 500+ Wolfe Hall residents, Andrew volunteered to go on stage when the emcee asked if there were any music lovers. Like a game show, he was asked to identify two tunes When he succeeded, they gave him a third. He answered, "That's Eminem's, 'LOSE YOURSELF."
Andrew's Hamlet rap was originally a high school English assignment. Click on the link below to view it:
Since then he has also shared his, "THOSE NIGHTS," poem at creative writing and regularly conducts guitar serenades for passersby to his room.
The lengthy, hard road to his solid college education is off to a great start. With all that he has on his plate, Andrew still found time to go to the TCNJ gym and counsel a nerd from his floor that has been nicknamed, "People Repellent."
|ANDREW HAS MADE HIS TRANSITION TO COLLEGE LIFE SEEM...SEAMLESS. LOOK (above) HOW CONFIDENT HE ALREADY IS. I GUESS WITH MY INCREASED SPARE TIME, I CAN CATCH-UP ON COUNTING MY SOCKS, BUILDING UP MY TOE-NAIL CLIPPING COLLECTION AND START SCRAP-BOOKING.|
I know Sue and I did a lot of things right so far because one of Andrew's floor-mates gave us the best endorsement when she called another girl into the room and said, "Come meet Andrew's parents, they are so cool."
To further prove my point, while home this weekend, Andrew brought home assignments...and DID them. For the next 99% of Andrew's stay at TCNJ, I want to respect his intelligence and give him as much autonomy as possible. But I also want keep our relationship healthy so he'll never forget the wisdom of my worldliness and accept my smacks when he veers too far off course.
So please pardon my profundity as I say to everyone going through a similar situation, here's to happiness and good luck to all of us.