Aargh! is a word I learned when watching Charlie Brown cartoons as a child. It is a word that encompasses the meaning of intense stress and frustration. It is a word that summarizes what I have endured over the past year as I went through the college application process with my son.
The intense stress of the last year was somewhat unexpected given that I have been through the college application with my oldest son and I actually assist teens with the application process for a living. However, this child is different. He is my middle child. This child is the one who has always approached life with intensity. He has always tried to live life on his own terms. This child is the one who hasn’t had the greatest outcomes all of the time. He is my child who forgot how to read between 1st and 2nd grade because he didn’t practice his reading enough. Despite my best efforts — he found it much more interesting to go outside to play or to build complicated structures with legos. He’s the child that had intense curiosity, who would like to explore on his own, to the point where he got lost on a trip to Disneyland. He’s the child who didn’t get credit for homework that he completed and forgot to turn in. In all cases, he eventually learned not by doing what he was told to do but by having natural consequences occur.
My stress over the college application process has occurred because this time the stakes are high and the consequences can truly impact the rest of his life. Given his missteps of the past, I have been holding on a little tighter. I have been having a problem letting go and letting natural consequences occur. However, I have had to summon the courage and strength to do so. After much contemplation and prayer for patience, I have had to let go. Of course, I haven’t left him fully on his own. I have made sure he is well informed on all of his options and have gone over the decision making process with him. But in the end, all final decisions have been his.
He has always had a different way of approaching things and somehow coming out okay in the end. I have not always agreed with his decisions and he sometimes has a different set of priorities than me. Yet I try to remember, he is also the child who amazed his math teachers by taking a totally different approach to problems and coming up with the right answer in the end. I have to step back and let him make his own mistakes and have faith that in the end everything will come out all right just as it has before.
Pathways 4 Teens offers services to help students determine the Right Fit College and for parents to help guide students in the process. Visit http://www.pathways4teens.com for more details! Also follow us on facebook and twitter for more great information and tips on the college application process!