The final days of summer are disappearing like the sand in an hourglass, faster than we would like. For many of you, children and grandchildren are heading into another chapter of their lives as they embark on the adventure of higher education. Have you done enough to prepare your child for this phase in their life, financially, physically, and spiritually? How we prepare them can be the difference between thriving or surviving these years of their lives.
Spiritual Preparation: Preparing Our Adult Children's Character
Good preparation starts with the heart. Having expectations of our adult children that are not merely external but internal, helps to develop the content of their character so they can be people of integrity, and approach their education as the blessing it is. New peer groups can be a bad influence and the familiar adage about kids leaving home and blowing their parent's money on a frivolous lifestyle can induce fear in most parents and grandparents.
But character preparation does not have to stop when they leave home. Find ways of maintaining your connection and influence without being intrusive and while respecting their adulthood. It might be well-timed communication through messages, letters, or gifts that help your adult children remember who they are and whose they are. And when your children make mistakes, point them to God and His word without making them feel like a failure.
Physical Preparation: Preparing Our Adult Children for Responsibility
It starts when they are little. We give our kids an ever-increasing level of responsibility so when they are on their own life is not overwhelming. And when life is overwhelming as it is for us all from time to time, the skills gained through responsibility help them to navigate such times. Preparing our children to be responsible adults might mean NOT helping which can be so hard, so they gain the skills needed to handle problems.
It can be tempting to want to help our kids out too much when we see them struggling. Going to college is a challenging season, but that does not mean we should lighten responsibilities too much for our kids. Coaching them to establish good habits and to learn how to schedule their time can help to ease the weight of their responsibilities.
Financial Preparation: Preparing Our Children to Be Wise Stewards
Gone are the days when parents can just pay for their children's education without their children's support. Sure, there are investment vehicles that wise parents can utilize to save up for their children's education, but to be honest, when adult children have a part in financing their own education it can serve as a motivation for their performance and for them to get the most out of their education.
Teaching your children to budget and to live within their means might mean they make some mistakes in this regard along the way. But letting them suffer the consequences of their mistakes helps them to see their need to be wise with what they are given and what they earn.
Dealing with the Expenses and Logistics of College
No one is ever fully prepared for college, but there are things we can do to help to ease the transition. With appropriate planning, college does not have to be a struggle financially or personally. As we aim to instill godly character, encourage stability through increasing responsibility, and develop a godly work ethic that helps them to apply themselves fully, we do our part and then they do theirs. Being wise in how we finance college can help to remove some of the stress in this season, as well. Below are some articles to help you as you navigate this season with your children or grandchildren, or other family members or friends.
Yours for Wise Stewardship,