All around the world, the challenges and emotions of sending our children off to college are much the same.
This insightful blog post came to me this week from a friend in London, J. John. I think it caught the essence of this changing relationship with children just right.
From an empty nest
I don’t often bring my family into what I write: I think they deserve some privacy. However, my wife Killy and I have recently undergone such a drastic change in our lives that I feel the need to write something! Our youngest son has gone to university and for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, we are quite literally home alone.
There are both good and not-so-good things about this. Suddenly the house is free from suspicious piles of washing and there is no loud music. The shower is never occupied for half an hour, the only magazines or CDs we are in danger of tripping over are our own and our food bills are halved. We can watch what we want on television and the house is quieter: the phrase ‘low-profile’ can never be applied to sons!
But of course there are not-so-good things. Even in this age of being able to connect to almost everyone, everywhere, at any time, to see your children leave the home results in a feeling of being ‘disconnected’. There is a new remoteness. You find yourself frequently wondering, ‘What are they doing right now?’, ‘How are they feeling?’ ‘Is there some way we can help them?’ Indeed, at the deepest level, there is something that could rightly be described as a sense of loss. It’s hardly surprising. You have spent a quarter of a century with much of your life oriented around fulfilling the needs of your offspring and then, suddenly, they are gone in a cloud of suitcases and boxes, leaving silence behind. There is a finality, too, about children departing. When your sons or daughters are at home they are clearly your responsibility: however old they are, they remain ‘your children’. Once they leave they are on their own; they are still your sons or daughters, but they have to look after themselves. Childhood is ended.
So there are losses and they are painful. Yet – and here’s the interesting thing – what’s the alternative? We all know that if you try to hold on to your children something very wrong happens to them and to you. There is a time for birds to leave the nest and it is a foolish parent who tries to prevent that happening. The old saying that ‘you don’t have children, you are only loaned them’ is a very true one and if, like me, you see children as a gift from God then it has an even deeper significance. Oddly enough, another good thing is the feeling of quiet satisfaction that your children actually want to leave home. As the wise saying goes, ‘You need to give your children roots and wings.’ In one sense, the painful stillness of the empty nest says ‘we hope we did our best’ although I think that children have usually left home by the time their parents really get the hang of parenting! In the summer our eldest son got married and on the day of his wedding I told him, ‘Mum and I did the best we could as parents. Forgive us where we failed and we hope you do better with your children!’
Can’t wait for the Christmas holidays for their return!
If you would like to read more from J. John, you can find his blog HERE
Dr. Ligon Duncan preached the third of our chapel series dealing with the hard questions of faith. This week’s question: Does Christian hypocrisy disprove Christianity?
It was a remarkable message – you can listen to it HERE.
Quote to remember and meditate on until you know it’s true –
There is no sin that you are afraid to admit, that God is not more willing to forgive than you are to repent of.
Dr. Ligon Duncan
All the scoring records were broken Saturday by our Blazer football team.
Most points in a game: 70
Most touchdowns in a game: 10
Most extra points in a game: 10
Most consecutive touchdowns without allowing the other team to score: 8
It was a great day of football for fans and for the players . . . we were up 70-14 with 4:45 left in the third quarter so lots of guys got a chance to play.
It was impressive!
The full story is HERE
We have an event coming soon to get on your calendar – and I’ll warn you now, if you miss it, you’ll be sorry you did because this will be the event of the fall everyone on campus will be talking about.
Mark your calendar and bring your family, kids, grandkids, neighbors, and church group.
On Tuesday evening, October 2, Dr. Billy Kim and the Far East Broadcasting Children’s Korean Choir will be presenting a concert in our Center for the Arts at at 7:30 pm. This will be a spectacular event, and will be colorful, fun, and this remarkable children’s choir especially enjoys doing American patriotic music. The costumes alone are worth the price of admission – if we were charging. But it is FREE to all.
The choir will be singing, Dr. Kim will be speaking, and we’ll have a special piano duet from Sylvia Hong of our faculty and her husband Michael Rector. The full evening will last about 90 minutes. Dr. Kim is one of the great statesmen of the Church, and the opportunity to hear him in person is something you’ll always treasure.
Doors open at 7, and the concert will begin right at 7:30 – and you won’t want to miss the choir’s grand entrance, so be on time.
The front page of the September 11th Clarion Ledger features Jay Levy — one of the students in our Master of Education program.
The story chronicles the success of his school in increasing student scores on the English II test — a requirement for high school graduation. The story reports how Jay and his colleague, Emily Peters, have helped this rural school dramatically improve in just one year.
Jay is in Dr. Cathy Wasson’s curriculum class tonight, while his story is being shown on the local NBC and CBS news programs tonight.
Quite an accomplishment for a first-year teacher!
Name a school.
From the front of his classroom, Pisgah High School English teacher Jay Levy began pointing to students for a response.
Pearl. Florence. Northwest Rankin. Madison Central.
“Beat them,” Levy said after each response.
“Beat. Them,” Levy said, drawing laughs from the students.
They went through about a dozen schools, and each time Levy had the same response: “Beat them.”
Pisgah High, Levy explained, had the highest percentage of students earning the highest scores on the state’s standardized English II test.
On paper, that feat seems unlikely for the small, rural school in Rankin County, where approximately 54 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
But recently released data from the state Department of Education shows that almost 89 percent of the Pisgah students who took the English II scored proficient or advanced, which is higher than not only the more affluent schools in Rankin County but also the rest of the state.
Approximately 98 percent of Pisgah High students who took the English II test earlier this year passed.
That success occurred on one of the state’s toughest standardized tests. And much of the credit for the Pisgah students’ success has gone to Levy, 23, who was a first-year teacher. (read the full article HERE)
We have some great chapels all through the semester at 11am on Tuesday mornings. But this week was very special.
The music was remarkable, the spirit of the students was energetic, and the message was the best I’ve ever heard in my nearly 40 years of attending college chapels.
Dr. Ligon Duncan, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, helped us wrestle with the hardest core question of faith with insight and eloquence that laid open why we must believe in God.
You need to take 30 minutes and listen to this message. You can find it HERE
Students, and parents of students (and some of the rest of us too) need to read this article from the Clarion Ledger on the challenges of getting enough sleep during the college years. Here are the take-aways for improving sleep:
• Exercise regularly, but not after the early evening. Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Try to avoid late-night eating and alcohol, but don’t go to bed hungry, either.
• Don’t use electronics – laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. – late at night. Not only will the content stimulate your brain, the brightness of the screen is comparable to a morning walk in the sun when it comes to waking you up.
• Make your bed a place just for sleep. Don’t study, watch TV or do anything else there (or not much else.
• If you have early classes on some days, try not to sleep in on the others. Experts say a regular schedule is the most essential element of a healthy sleep routine.
• Try to avoid naps, and if you do nap, nap before 3 p.m. and for no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise you’ll keep yourself up at night.
• Set your alarm clock – but for the evening, at a reasonable bedtime. That way, you’re less likely need it in the morning (if you need an alarm clock to wake up feeling rested, you’re not sleeping enough).
I’m thankful that Belhaven University provides a learning environment that allows students to probe the hardest questions of life, as well as test the easy answers.
Our faculty are gifted and committed to helping students work through the doubts of faith that come to every seeker, and every Christian.
The Fuller Youth Institute has just published research helping the church understand the importance of allowing questions of doubt and skepticism be asked and grappled with openly. Belhaven seeks to build this type of learning community.
And here is story from Christianity Today about the research that backs it up:
Steve Jobs, Back to School, and Why Doubt Belongs in Your Youth Group Curriculum
Our research at the Fuller Youth Institute suggests unexpressed doubt leads young people to leave the faith.
As a young boy, Steve Jobs attended a Lutheran church with his parents. At age 13, he asked the pastor, “If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?”
The pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”
Jobs then pulled out a Life magazine cover depicting starving children in Biafra and asked his pastor, “Does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”
The well-intentioned pastor answered, “Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”
Jobs declared that he didn’t want to worship such a God, walked out of the church, and never went back.
As we at the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) learned from studying 500 youth-group graduates during their first three years in college, Jobs’s story is far from unique. In our Sticky Faith research, geared to help young people develop a Christian faith that lasts, a common narrative emerged: When young people asked tough questions about God at church, often during elementary or middle school, they were told by well-meaning church leaders and teachers, “We don’t ask those sorts of questions about God here.” While they rarely storm out of the church like Jobs did, they end up believing that the church is not big enough to handle their tough questions, and thus neither is God.
Read the full article HERE.