My son has been accepted to college and while this is a happy event, one that he has been preparing for his entire life, the reality is here and the fears and concerns have set in for both his parents and himself. We, the parents are concerned with the potential dangers of independent living… and he is concerned about being away from his family. But whether we or he is ready or not, the time has come for him to fledge. So, we parents, have to ask ourselves how have we prepared our son for his flight?
First, we taught and modeled self discipline, restraint, and responsibility. These are the intangibles that he will need to handle all the decisions that he will face in life. But what about the tangibles? Can he cook? Can he iron? Does he know how to handle money: spending, saving, investing, credit? How will he handle love? Relationships? Sex? Will he know how to protect himself from charlatans, muggers, evil people, STDs? Will he make good choices? Will he be able to take care of himself when he gets sick? Will he be lonely?
These are the things I worry about. Some will argue to just shove the juvenile out the nest and he will learn to fly, but my son is NOT a bird, he is my son! And the thought of pushing him out the nest fills me with anxiety. Yet that is exactly what I must do; in order for him to become a man. But before I push, let me check my list: have I taught him to say please and thank you; have I thought him to be vocal about his needs; have I allowed him to explore his interests and listen to his own voice; have I taught him that what goes around comes around; have I taught him manners; have I taught him how to cross a street in a busy city; have I taught him to be aware of his surroundings; have I taught him how to clean the bathroom, mop, sweep, make a bed, do laundry, cook at least 5 meals; have I taught him how to write a check and balance a check book; have I taught him the pros and cons of credit cards; have I taught him why it is a poor choice to drink alcohol in excess; and why drugs are unnecessary; have I taught him how to call 911, and how to stand up for himself; have I taught him why no means no?
And when I check my list, I am content to know that my son has the tools and skills to not only survive, but that he has the tools to thrive… After all, he has one more thing: he still has his dad and I to ask questions and to lean on, because unlike that bird, my son can always come home – to visit.