Monday, October 22, 2007

how i got my son into college

In my small group at church, most of us have kids in high schools—so I wasn’t surprised when the topic turned to the process of college selection. And to be honest, I just don’t get it.

Trips to schools. Help with applications. Rewriting essays. Keeping track of due dates. Schedules. Charts. Research. And this is what parents were describing as their rolls.

Here’s a recap of how my parents were involved in my college process:
- we’ll give you $2,500 to help pay for tuition, room and board
- oh, and dad will drive you to Penn Station so you can catch a train

And you know what… that was perfectly fine by me. I think I picked a pretty good school (Wahoo-wa!)… I typed my own essay… I remembered to apply on time… I worked throughout college… and I eventually paid off my student loans. (OK, my wife helped.)

So I wonder… why do we treat our 17-year old sons and daughters like little kids these days?

College applications are not that hard. My grandmother left her family when she was 16, got on a boat for three weeks and landed in a country where she knew no one. That was hard. But she took ownership. She did it.

So when will our kids grow up? When we stop doing everything for them.

The same could be said of church.

Over the past six months, the leaders at my community of faith have been less concerned with “feeding the masses” and more focused on teaching people how to feed themselves spiritually. And that’s a good thing.

The leaders at Willow Creek recently came to the same conclusion after research showed that increasing participation in church-run activities wasn’t increasing spiritual growth. At some point, people need to own their faith.

But not all churches are convinced. My friend Bob’s son is getting ready for confirmation, and one of his son’s tasks is to get the church bulletin signed and dated by the reverend every week. Bob wants to know… why is it that no one trusts him to attend church on his own? They say he’s ready to be a soldier for Christ, but they don’t believe he can answer a question honestly unless he has written proof.

When will we grow up?


wilsonian said...

I wonder how much is about how we see ourselves... and how much we project onto others.

It's likely easy for a parent to believe that what school their child gets into is a reflection of them and their parenting. I suppose they care what some stranger in an admissions office thinks of them because of their child's entrance essay. Silly, but true.

Same with church. If we identify with a local congregation, it's success is somehow a reflection on us...

I agree. We all need to grow up.

Anonymous said...

i don't know about people owning their faith. i do know that Christians are owned through faith.