Aron Sora: Parents Sending Kids to School

>> Saturday, August 22, 2009

Aron Sora asked: I'm going to college soon, what are my parents going through? What are they feeling right now?

I would like to preface my response here with a reminder that I am not omniscient. If I'd given the impression that I knew everything in the past, let me correct that right here and now. I don't.

With that said, short answer: I don't know.

I could speculate a hundred different possibilities, many contradictory (that might even both be true) and still miss the mix of emotions your parents are going through. For example, I expect they're very proud, trepiditious about your success probably more for your own sake than anything else, relieved you have a path, sad that you're going, pleased to have some time to themselves, the list is endless. Depending on your parents, your number of siblings, the circumstance involved with your going to college, the mix of emotions changes and, even if I knew, the state is unlikely to be static.

Here's an idea. Ask them.

They may be reluctant to tell you, preferring to focus on you and your plans, your state of mind. Or they might be all too ready to tell you. But, take the time to find out. Good or bad, weak or strong, with errors or flawlessly, these people were pivotal in helping you become what you are becoming, teaching you values via example you won't even realize you learned for years to come.

People are flawed, even those we idealize, but most parents have tried their best to do the right thing. There are few professions that involve more selflessness or more dedication. More love. It's imperfect and there are no procedures or methodologies that provide a blueprint. It's the most frustrating, wonderful, frightening, time consuming, rewarding, thankless job of all time.

Take the time to ask them. You may not know it, but the fact that it matters to you what they're going through is almost certainly an indication that they did a hell of a job.

Just sayin'.

(P.S. Yes, that's me with my son Alex when he was an infant.)


  • Jeff King

    First i know they are thinking about how fast time flew by...

    Second the hope you find happiness and success

    Third they hope you don't pick a major that will not earn you a solid career, one that does not have you moving back home because your choice of job possibilities does not earn a decent amount of income...

    And lastly, they hope you don't get pregnant or get someone pregnant until you graduate.... all parents feel this way, since most of us have that regret under our belts.

    These are just my points of view putting myself in their shoes... but yes best advice is to ask them. Hopefully adulthood brings your friendship between your parents out. That is when they can be a friend more than a parent... at least for me that is what happened.
    Best of luck

  • Aron Sora

    Thank you, I asked them and it lead to an interesting conversation about their hopes and fears for me. They also talked about the challenges they went through and reasons they thought I would be ok in school. They also told me some of my areas which I should work on. Before I asked, it seems that they where on the verge of breakdown. It was very enlightening.

  • The Mother

    Having sent two kids to college, and watched other parents do it, I can tell you that no two families feel the same way.

    Some parents feel that loss acutely, and tend to make their kids suffer for it by helicoptering.

    I pushed mine out the door and said, "good luck."

    It is the nature of kids to grow up. It is the job of parents to let them.

  • JD at I Do Things

    No kids here, but I know it was tough on my mom, as we were/are very close. Not just the physical distance, but the fact that I was growing and meeting new people . . . Oh, who am I kidding. I don't have an intelligent comment. I just wanted to say what a beautiful photo that is!

  • Stephanie B

    Ah, JD, you're sweet. I can't take any credit. My fabulously talented aunt Sue took it and posed it. But I do have a soft spot for it.

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