You have spent the last 17-18 years nurturing, supporting and, at times, challenging your precious child to grow and mature into an adult. There have been scraped knees, tummy aches and broken hearts. In most cases, you knew what to do to ease the pain and usher your child through to sunnier days — until now. Your child has spent the last two decades studying hard, committed to extra-curricular activities and contributing to their communities. Your child has spent the last several months toiling on college applications, preparing for standardized tests and writing and rewriting college essays. And now, there’s nothing you can do but … wait. With early decisions about to be released, standing in the background with this inability to influence the outcome (for most of you) can be excruciating. What’s a parent to do?
Every year, around this time, I go back to one of my favorite opinion pieces, “How to Survive the College Admissions Madness” by Frank Bruni. In it, Bruni shares a letter written by mom and dad to their college-applicant son on the even of college decisions. Here it is below:
On the night before you receive your first college response, we wanted to let you know that we could not be any prouder of you than we are today. Whether or not you get accepted does not determine how proud we are of everything you have accomplished and the wonderful person you have become. That will not change based on what admissions officers decide about your future. We will celebrate with joy wherever you get accepted — and the happier you are with those responses, the happier we will be. But your worth as a person, a student and our son is not diminished or influenced in the least by what these colleges have decided.
If it does not go your way, you’ll take a different route to get where you want. There is not a single college in this country that would not be lucky to have you, and you are capable of succeeding at any of them.
We love you as deep as the ocean, as high as the sky, all the way around the world and back again — and to wherever you are headed.
Mom and Dad
Remember that, just because your son or daughter is leaving your home and venturing into adulthood, it doesn’t mean they need you, your support, your band-aids or your hugs any less. They may even need it more now than ever.