Tuesday, April 23, 2019

a year later, and an update

On this day last year, Drew and I were picking up his cap and gown for graduation.  It's crazy to think how fast an entire year went by, when I thought it would go on forever.  I remember all the feelings that I had regarding him graduating, and also, from when Graham graduated the year before Drew.  Those days are so sweet, and I have such fond memories of both graduations.

I wasn't really sure of what to expect with Drew attending Southwest Community College. (Mostly free school?  Yes, please.)  I know people who have gone there, or did dual enrollment there, and I had heard horror stories about the place.  But you know what?  This past year is proof that when you treat people kindly and communicate openly about what you're needing to find out, people treat you that same way in return.  We have been very pleasantly surprised by how well the year has gone.  Everyone has been incredibly nice and helpful with Drew, and he had lots of questions going in to this year.  Treat others as they want to be treated, and you will be repaid that kindness in return.  Drew has made friends with the women in the admissions office.  They love him, and he loves them for helping him through this year.  The same is true for the academics adviser office.  His professors have been so good, and they have looked on him with favor, because he shows up to every class and they see that he tries his very best.

If I could tell parents one thing, it would be to encourage your kid to do something against the grain of what all their friends are doing.  College is college, and it does not have to be a university.  Most teenagers pick big schools because of the "college" experience.  They want away from their parents, out of their house, and freedom.  (My own wanted this same thing, and I wanted this when I was that age.)  We did not want to load tons of student debt upon Drew, though, so we encouraged him to stay here and take this route.  I think a year later, that he is glad for this.  (I could be wrong, though.)  Also, if they decide not to go to school, work is work, or training is training.  Help them find what they love to do and encourage them.

We told him that we would not be the kind of parents to hover over him (actually, we've never been those parents), and that he would have all the freedom he wanted.  He has been in charge of all his own stuff.  We don't ask him if he has done this or that, we don't force him to go to every class.  He is responsible for his own self, and he knows that.  He has missed a class here and there over this year in school, but he knows he can't miss too many or he will lose the Hope Scholarship. 

I know of many people who have gone to universities and have finished those four years strong.  I also know of a lot who have gone away, and then have come back home.  Many go on to work in the area they received their degree, but so many do not.  Just know this: there are options for everyone, and you do not have to let your own kids do what everyone else is doing.  Talk to them, help them to try and figure out their future plans, even if they're unsure.  Sometimes when you point out something they've always been interested in, it can help them to decide to pursue that path after school. 

If you have a student who hates school and tries, but has trouble with grades anyway (this was me), they may decide that school isn't for them, or at least the traditional idea of school.  For instance, we have a school in Memphis that someone can go to and be certified in three months.  It is very affordable and has to do with computer programming.  Or, they may decide to jump into full time work.  I know so many people who started at FedEx on the loading dock, and moved their way up in the company over the years.  Not everyone needs a college degree.  If that were the case, we would be without plumbers, electricians, and contractors.  There is nothing wrong with pursuing any of those things!  Those people will never be without a job, because they are in high demand.  (The same thing can be said for welders, forklift drivers, or heavy machinery operators, or truck drivers.)

We also encouraged them to pick a major they would have no problem finding a job in.  (One could clearly tell us, and one could not, and that one decided to skip the school part and go into full time work, and it was the best decision ever for him.  We are equally as proud of him as we are the other.)  All of his life, Drew told us he wanted to be a pediatrician.  Then in his junior year of high school, he decided he wanted to pursue a nursing degree instead.  We were all for whatever he wanted, especially because he can take that degree as far as he wants.  He may stop after the four years of school, but he may also go on and do more with it someday.  The point is, he has options, and he will never have a hard time finding a job.

Not everyone knows what they want to do at a young age, though.  I prayed and prayed and prayed, and asked God many times to show them His plan for their life, and in His own perfect timing, He did just that.  I believe He will always do that.  He did the same thing for Graham, changing his mind completely about everything he though he had figured out.  He will do the same for Jonah and Noah, I trust.  I cannot tell you how many times I've prayed for God to give them an inspiration or an idea they could then work off of.  God is Creator of the universe, He can do this, if we ask and trust.  He may do that through a person, or in a dream, but I have experienced this myself and know it to be true. 

Many of my friends have kids in big universities and away from home, and they are thriving.  That is awesome!  Just know, each student, each experience is different.  Don't be so fixed on one idea that you can't be flexible.  And if they try school and do not succeed and end back home, there is no shame in that!  That was me, halfway through my freshman year of college.  My parents did not shame me even one time, but recognized that school wasn't for me.  So I started working full time and continued to do that until I was about to give birth to my second baby (Drew).  What they DID do was support me, encourage me, and help me find full time work.  I remember talking to my mom for hours on end about where I could get a job. 

Ask God to help you with all of this, He will.  If your kids are little, ask Him to let His will be done in their lives.  Drew is awaiting on finding out if He was accepted into nursing school for next semester.  I know that if he isn't accepted for next semester, that God is in control and has a plan already put into place for Drew.  It's not always what we want, but it is always far better than anything we could have concocted on our own.  I pray this every single day of my life: Lord, help ME get out of Your way.  I want His best for them, and they're His, and He wants the best for them even more than me, especially when it brings Him glory.  I don't regret any of how my life turned out, and I know I had parents and grandparents praying the same thing for me.  Don't ever forget the power of prayer.  Pray with them, for them, and ask God to start to develop in them what they want to do forever.  Ask Him to show them.  He will, I promise. 

Thanks for reading my blog!  Love to all. 

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