I just took my son down to register for classes at Southern Oregon University and participated in a day of introductions by the university. They did a wonderful job of helping the students get ready for their new experience and the parents understand how to support their students. I sure wish that I had had that introduction when I went to college. But not the topic.
During the parent program, a variety of speakers helped us understand what to expect over the next several years and allowed us to ask questions. This was very useful. Our last speaker was the VP of Finance for the university talking about financing the education and our rights and responsibilities as parents. He stressed over and over again that as parents we have few if any rights over what our student does with the financing of the education except for helping arrange for financing or provide financing. Our child or should I say adult is absolutely accountable for the management of his/her finance and everything else for that matter. After 18 years of helping and guiding, my son is truly out there doing this himself.
The message to me and the other parents was that we needed to sit down and have a conversation with our child to set the game and come to agreements on how financing was to be handled, how when and what communication looked like, how residual money would be handled, and everything else about this new phase of our child’s life. I am now faced with sitting down and talking with my son about all of these topics and trying to set my expectations and offer my insights in such a way that he will listen. I have been fretting about this ever since we left the university yesterday. Should I also be talking with him about sex, drugs, and other life impacting issues? Probably so. This certainly will not be an easy conversation for me. Nor will it be for my son. Should be interesting.
My son tends to get all of his information from reading and is very well read. In our conversation I somehow need to have him embrace conversation as a means to connect and learn new knowledge and insights that probably will not be found in a book but only reveled through a heart to heart conversation. How many of our issues could we solve in this world if we simply sat down together and talked. It would be easy for me to just tell myself that he already knows all of this stuff but in so doing I would be doing him a disservice and not fulfilling my responsibilities as a mentor and guide for my son. So the conversation I will have. Hummm.