During college application season, students just think they are the most stressed member of the family. If the truth be known, it is usually the moms, especially those who’ve homeschooled. It seems there is so much riding on the outcome: our child’s future career and earning potential, their happiness and well-being and, to be brutally honest, our reputation as an educator. I think deep within the almost-forgotten corners of our mind is the worry that others were right when they said we would ruin our child by stepping off the grid and chasing this homeschool anomaly.
Taken altogether, these factors can pile up on top of a mom and cause extreme anxiety. I won’t pretend that it didn’t happen to me, as well, when I was in the trenches. However, time and experience have taught me a few things. I would prefer to look you deep in the eyes, give you a hug and have a cup of tea together. But, since that is not possible, I’ll share my heart here:
1. If we aren’t careful, our total sense of purpose gets tied up in our children’s triumphs. When they are successful, we feel successful. When they fail, we read it as a direct correlation to our training. We need to stop and realize what a false assumption this truly is. While we are responsible to do our very best at raising them and make sacrifices for their good, our children and their choices belong to themselves. If we search for significance through the achievements of others or even achievements of our own, we have basically denied the truth: that we are significant ONLY because we are a child of God.
2. We can make a false idol of getting into the “right” college. After working with hundreds of kids who have gone to dozens of colleges, I am here to tell you that there is no best college. Our goal should be to raise proactive students who know how to make the most of any opportunity and experience they are given.
3. To achieve peace in this awful college application process, the best advice I have is to hold everything loosely. You can’t call the shots or make the decisions. In fact, in our imperfect understanding of the millions of data points, we wouldn’t know what the best decision was anyway. So, help your student do their very best, offer support in any way you can, and trust that God has this under control.
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