Our recent online surveys of current and future college parents confirm what we suspected: the majority of our members and supporters at College Parents of America are women, especially among those of you who are actively engaged in our group.
As you might have guessed from my name, I am not.
But I am lucky to have a marvelous Mom, and a wonderful wife who is a great Mom to our two sons, so I thought it appropriate to write a Mother’s Tribute, to all of you out there who are struggling to do your best to support your children on the path to and through college.
As you have no doubt discovered, parenting doesn’t end at the middle school, or high school, or college door. In fact, statistics from a wide variety of sources reveal that parental involvement is key to a child’s academic success, whether that means getting good grades and on the right track in middle school, garnering strong standardized test scores and classroom marks in a rigorous high school or hunkering down for the long hours of study that come with the academic challenges – and opportunities – in college.
Now there are critics out there, to be sure, who bemoan parental involvement as hampering of a child’s intellectual and emotional growth and success.
To which my standard response is: “Don’t you agree that parental involvement is much better than the alternative?”
There are reams of academic and popular studies which show that appropriate levels of parent involvement can be a very positive factor, both in helping a child get to the campus gates and in supporting that young adult as he or she tackles the dual challenges of an undergraduate curriculum, as well as life on his or her own.
Many of those studies also show that it is the female parent in the household, the “mom,” who provides much of the backstop support and who is there if needed to step up and help to solve any problems.
Sometimes it probably feels like you are nagging your child or young adult too much as he or she prepares for or experiences life at college. Don’t feel bad; the only parents who probably are nagging too much are the ones who would never even consider that the amount of time and attention that they are devoting to their child is more than should be expected. Those nagging parents have a blind spot; if you are questioning your own involvement, then consider that process to be a valid self-examination, nothing more and nothing less.
So it is with all of the above points in mind, that I offer this original poem, as a tribute to all you moms out there who want what is best for your child.
Today’s College Mom
Years ago, in college herself, she stood in line on Sunday afternoons.
She chatted with her friends, and then called her Mom collect.
She didn’t share too much about life at school.
And neither Mom, nor Dad, asked many questions.
Today, every day of the week, she eyes her cell’s caller ID.
She hopes it is her own son or daughter and she just wants to talk.
Today’s College Mom wants to be involved, to help as much as she can.
She’s looking for guidance. . . and boundaries.
She’ll find them somehow. Through the passage of time, this Web site or the college itself.
And when her questions are answered,
She’ll have a few more.
She’ll know what she doesn’t know,
And not worry about all the rest.
The car booster from long ago is stored in the basement,
Somewhere behind the trophies given for just showing up.
But the memories of early parenting can’t go into storage.
They linger and help fill the time.
Until the familiar ring tone interrupts, and the face of the caller,
Once in the rear-view mirror, is now in the screen saver.
Still bundled, but in a family calling plan,
Researched. . .and paid for. . .by Today’s College Mom.
Now would that be you I am writing about?
For additional college parenting stories, none of which are written in verse, please click around our web site.