Paraphrasing Jung – The greatest determinant in the life of a child is the unlived potential of the parent.
My husband launched from high school in the sixties – when women had to wear skirts to class! and all freshmen wore beanies! I launched from high school in the seventies – when women believed they could do everything – become a CEO and have the house with the white picket fence – and men were breaking out of the IBM mode of dutiful husband and father.
My husband dutifully went off to college, followed the rules, earned a BS, an MS and then a Ph.D. I rebelled, graduated from HS early, moved out and eventually found myself back in higher education earning a BS and an MS and now am back for an Ed.S. So – even though we are of different generations – education is important to us as parents!
When our son was little – I imagined that he might want to take a year off after high school and decompress and forget everything they had stuffed into him (my need obviously not his!). As he began to differentiate as a teenager – I realized that he had some gifts and skills that differed from and exceeded mine and his needs were different than mine. I had a paradoxical mixture of pride! and panic!
And now – he is about to launch! It was a tough decision – several tempting offers and with each campus visit he was seduced and fell in love. In the end, he chose a school that is smaller, less flashy, filled with kids who are not easily defined as leaders or followers – filled with kids who are not easily defined!
He chose a school with a liberal arts focus – a place where he could take Music Theory to satisfy a math requirement and Acting to satisfy a public speaking requirement. My hope is that it will be a good fit for the next four years.
And now – there is the grieving that takes place for the roads not chosen… the what ifs… and it would have been that way no matter what school he chose.
I am so proud of him! This wasn’t an easy process. I struggled to not be overinvested – while knowing that my expertise in higher education could be useful to him! My husband struggled because he knew which school he wanted him to go to and wasn’t all that subtle about it at times. And our son struggled because he is on the cusp – he is about to leap into the unknown. There are lots of exciting things to come – and also some uncertainty, doubt, fear, and dread. I wouldn’t change places with him for anything!
And I am so proud I am popping my buttons!