How staying local for 'higher education' stretched and shaped me.
I had just graduated from high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for my life and following a guy to school wasn’t a great idea, so what now? I didn’t need or want to go into debt for schooling especially if I had no idea, no revelation of what I was ‘supposed’ to be doing.
So, my parents suggested cosmetology school, it was local, I had an interest in it, I could stay at home and save money so if in that time I figured out what I was going to do I could have a job, a way to provide for myself and schooling. So that was it, a trade that I could keep forever and use to help out the present me and the future me.
This question has presented itself over and over in recent years as Kevin and I are raising our three daughters. When our girls were younger we noticed many people; people whom we looked up to, had taken the approach of no dating in high school. When our girls were little we thought – Yes! that is the best answer, but we quickly observed that this might not be the approach we really wanted to stick with.
As we began to experience the beginning of crushes that were turning into something a little more, we began with the whole – “You’re not dating till you’re out of high school” route. Then we got caught up in a situation of sneaking behind mom and dad’s back to try things out anyway. This caused us to really rethink our approach; was this really the way we wanted to go? If we didn’t help our girls through their first experiences with boys – how would they learn how God wanted them to interact with them and eventually with their future husbands?
How many times have you been frustrated with one of your daughters? How often during that frustration have you reached a point when your frustration turns to anger? The point when you know your blood is beginning to streak through your veins at Indy 500 speeds? Your temper gets the ‘best of you’ and whether you blurt it out or not you want to shout out … WHY CAN’T YOU JUST…
… Keep your room clean? Pick up after yourself? Do your chores? Stop putting mom and dad on the spot? Be responsible? Be kind to your brother? Save your money? Behave yourself? Be where you say you are going? Do what I ask you to do?
Seeing the speed-bumps with a secular higher education.
As a dad and mom you’ve raised your daughter in a ‘protected’ environment. When she was a toddler, you made sure the dangerous ‘things’ were just out of reach. As a pre-teen you were cautious about which friends she was being influenced by. Now as she enters adulthood she is considering going to a local community or state school and you are second guessing if that’s the right environment for her to ‘get educated’ in.
I was recently at a Christian university for a high school girls basketball tournament and at dinner one evening the adult conversation naturally led to where our daughters were heading off to college. The opinions and insights were as diverse as the families represented. However, a few themes jumped out related to what our daughters would face, no matter where they attended…
From butterfly kisses at bedtime to the daddy daughter dance
I remember when my first born, Ashli, was growing up. When she was 2, I thought wow only half way to 4, lots of time left. When she was 4, I thought wow, only half way to 8, lots of time left. When she was 8, I thought, she’s only eight, plenty of time until she is 16. Now she’s 20 with a ring on her finger and a wedding only 10 months away, plenty of time!
Wait, stop … rewind. Where has the time gone? As a dad and mom we often think and act like we have plenty of time with our daughters and then when the future arrives we sit back and wonder where did it all go.
The journey of love and relationships for Ashli has been jammed packed with ups and downs, curves, one-way’s, and dead ends. I even think there may have been a ‘what were you thinking’ crossing sign along the way, at least time or two:) But haven’t we all been there as parents? How perfect was your entry into dating and finding your life long friend and partner?
We’ve always encouraged Ashli … ‘as you follow after God, making the right choices, serving where He’s planted you, honoring mom and dad, when the right man comes along , we will know, God will reveal it’! Of course, as parents we say many things that we hope and trust one day will come true, and for Ashli it did.
A year ago when … well, let’s just let Ashli and her fiancee Simeon tell the story …
It’s way easier to choose what God has for us when we are ‘walking in the light’ rather than when we are stumbling around in the dark, making all kinds of goofy, self-serving decisions. The Bible states it nicely that ‘there is no greater joy than to see my children walk in truth’.
Both Sonja and I are happy. We have a peace. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Simeon is the right guy for our first born daughter, our ‘test case child’, one of the cherished loves of our lives.