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When The Nest Is Empty


The month of August has just passed and for many of us this month had great significance. While some parents experienced their children attend their first day of school, others like me experienced a high school and college graduate leave home to attend undergraduate and graduate school out-of-state.

Although these types of milestones are anticipated, there is absolutely no feeling like the one you get once it’s been reached. Upon returning from dropping my daughters off to college in California, there was a lonely feeling and a deep sense of loss. Coming to the realization that they most likely will never return home again for good is so hard to believe. The house is not the same, it feels truly empty. The reality that they are now grown and officially free to follow their own path in life is a bitter yet sweet understanding. However, there is peace in knowing that you have prepared them for whatever may come their way. In sharing my advice I would say…Be sure to really say what needs to be said to your children when they are leaving home to go off to college. Break it down, all the way down. Don’t assume they know things that you have not explicitly talked to them about. Share exactly what it is you want your children to know.

Keep it raw, uncut, and simple. I began with…

God is REAL and God is GOOD. Any child that I have raised knows this, unequivocally and without a doubt. They know they can call on Him, cry out to Him, lean on Him, at any time.

Secondly, hard work pays off…to reach your full potential at anything you absolutely “must” work hard at it, spend countless hours practicing or studying it. This is called due diligence. One should have no expectation for success and they have not worked hard.

Thirdly, no one is going to just give you anything…and in some cases even when you have earned it and deserve it. Be assertive and aggressive, but in a way that compliments your core value system and aligns with your moral compass.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to shine. Often times we can miss out on opportunities because we go unnoticed behind the scenes doing all the leg work. This is all well and good, but don’t get accustomed to being in the background when you deserve to be in the spotlight. There is nothing wrong with stepping out front and showcasing your gifts and talents. You never know whose watching. Great opportunities can come your way if you simply are just noticed by the right person.

There are many more things we can share as parents, but sometimes we don’t know where or how to start the conversation. The aforementioned can be used as a start. As our children enter into adulthood, we as parents know what they will be faced with. But the beauty radiates in the fact that they don’t know, everything will be new to them. They really have no clue and yet they “will” be able to figure things out for themselves. Be confident in knowing that you have given them the tools to make good choices in life and the skills to make a way out of what may seem to be no way. Encourage them not to follow where the path may lead, but to go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. We’re raising trailblazers! It’s never too late, start the conversation.

~Doc Mel


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