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.

There were so many different experiences that I had the opportunity to go through, whether it ranged from dating different people good or bad, looking for a new church, looking for and finding my way with friends, or the complete other side of the spectrum growing closer to my family, having this time to spend with my sisters and being able to work with the girls basketball team I grew up on, and an unexpected blessing being able to help out one of my good friends that I grew up with to become more independent as a person.

What I thought was the worst thing ever has turned into the best thing ever. My parents were able to be present and be part of my growing into adulthood.  A privilege that most of my friends have not had being away at college during these tough years.

No, my parents aren’t hovering over me and forcing me to make certain choices, they are there helping guide me through life. It didn’t mean that once I turned 18 I was able to make my own choices right away either, 18 isn’t a magical number that all of a sudden I am an adult.  No, I still need my parents help and guidance through life and through life’s hard decisions, and also be there and encourage me in the happy times when I was making the right choices.

I was blessed with parents that used their ability to parent me, ‘their test child’, very wisely. Sure it was super hard, not easy at times but we all have grown so much through it.

When I was going around trying out different churches they were learning right there with me, they didn’t just say you CAN’T believe that, they helped me figure out why I SHOULDN’T believe that.

Or in the realm of dating someone they didn’t agree with, they didn’t just say I shouldn’t be dating them.  They gave me reasons why it wouldn’t be a good idea, and sometimes because I am still human, I needed for them as my parents, to give it to me straight and say, “No.” I needed that. They didn’t just let me go, they prayed for and with me, they guided me through.  The times where I was set on doing something I shouldn’t have, they still allowed me to make my own choices, they realized that I had to come to the conclusion on my own, they had prodded enough.

Come to think of it, isn’t that what God does for us? He is right there with us through the thick and thin, gives us the ability to make our own choices and is there to help us make the rights ones. He doesn’t just say go for it, all on your own and hopes you make the right ones. He is there by our side, giving us a way out, prodding us to make the right decisions and guess what? He gave us earthly help not just heavenly help … parents!

I hope you are as thankful for your parents as I am mine. And parents, maybe it’s time to step up and have that ‘conversation you’ve been putting off’ with your “grown-up” kids.  They may not like you for it now, but they will thank you for it later.

Maybe it isn’t right for everyone, but for me the right choice was staying home instead of skipping town.

My dad wrote a helpful article on choosing between attending private or public college and my mom recently wrote about dating in high school you might find helpful too.

Leave a reply/comment below and tell me what you’ve learned by making hard choices..


The first-born daughter of the Wallenbeck clan and known as 'big sis' around the family. A professional hairstylist by day and product manager by night.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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