I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I was over it by the time I was a sophomore. College called to me with a siren song of adulthood that was incredibly appealing. I had it all mapped out in my head. There would be communities of students gathered over their books, discussing the latest innovations in whatever subject we were majoring in. Study group connections blossomed into friendships that would follow me all four years as well as into the real world after college. Professors would initiate discussion in class that would promote an honest give and take of ideas, regardless of whether I believed in the same things that they did. Everyone was there to breathe in the intoxicating aroma of knowledge.
BOY WAS I WRONG! College was awesome, but it was not like the pictures in my head! I didn’t think about all the classes that I needed to take that taught some theories completely counter to what I believed, like philosophy and anthropology. How was I supposed to take quizzes and tests and answer the questions according to texts and yet still hold on to my own ideals? I was racing around caught up in my own workload, I didn’t have time to attend study groups, let alone develop friendships. And most of the students discussions centered around how hammered they had gotten over the weekend at whatever party they had attended.
College is amazing, but it can be a huge culture shock that first year if you aren’t prepared for what you are heading into. If you are a student who follows Jesus it can also be a time of real tension; not only are you learning how to navigate academically, but many times you are also leaving a place of security where everyone believes what you believe and you aren’t culturally or doctrinally ready to defend it.
So what can parents do to prepare their students for this perfect storm? Have conversations about what you believe and why you believe it. Challenge your students to defend their faith to you, so that they can learn how to defend their faith to others, including themselves. Partner with your church leaders that see your kids each week. Talk to them about your concerns and how they can best minister to your student. Let them know what’s going on in your student’s life and invite their leader into that space; foster that relationship.
If you aren’t part of a Gospel Community, get into one. Not only are you teaching your student that community is important, but you are inviting other Jesus loving adults to pour into your student through relationships and prayer. Research tells us that the more godly adults your kids have in their lives, the smaller the likelihood that they will walk away from their faith. Capitalize on that!
Efamily! Wants to come alongside you as you prepare your students for life outside of mom and dad. That’s why we are offering ways to partner like the SHINE breakfast we are holding THIS SATURDAY from 10-1130. It’s an easy way to meet leaders and discuss your kids. We are also specifically targeting seniors starting in October, by providing Escape Groups (ESC: Element Student Communities where they will learn how to navigate that first year of college, and still stay true to who they are in Christ. That launches October 16, so make sure your senior is a part of that.
Your students can thrive in college academically AND spiritually if you start to get intentional about preparing them now. Efamily! Wants to help with that! Let us know if there are other specific needs that your family could benefit from by emailing me at Christie.firstname.lastname@example.org.