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by Julie Loos
If you are the mom of a soon-to-be-college freshman, hang on. You will survive. But the more important question might be—will your child survive spiritually? Even if he or she has checked all the boxes associated with growing up in the church? I have walked in your shoes twice. And so far, my young men are thriving in college and are still striving to walk with Christ. Personally and professionally, I’ve gained insights I’d like to share with you.
So here’s the thing. We moms are experts at making sure dorm rooms are outfitted, classes are registered, meal plans are sufficient, and laundry is, well, laundry. However, there is one area for which it is not uncommon to assume our child is already prepared. Because, after all, we’ve been doing this for the last eighteen years, right? But unfortunately, statistics and experience show that we are not doing as good a job as we thought we were in one key area. More accurately, we are not being as intentional and strategic as we should be about the area of spiritual preparation for college.
But it is not too late! The summer months are a great time to prepare while also having focused time with your almost-adult child before you send her off. In fact, as I post this, you have about two months until you cut the apron strings.
This is an emotional time for us moms–especially if you are sending your first fledgling out from the nest. The inner conflict of letting your baby go wars against the inner celebration of more freedom for yourself. However, you will feel better after that last hug knowing you wrapped her in tactical armor to navigate the spiritual landmines ahead. So, what do you say? How about engaging in a summer spiritual boot camp for college prep?
Today, I’ll overview the top ten topics you should try to cover. I will follow this blog with detailed blogs breaking down each topic with resources and action steps. Now before you throw your hands up in despair or throw your face in a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s, ask God for discernment. He knows your child even better than you and is willing to show you what to accomplish before orientation week.
1. Research churches and campus ministries your student could attend. Research shows that your child’s involvement with a local church and campus ministry during the first two weeks of college is crucial to her spiritual health. Additionally, maintaining intergenerational relationships bolsters faith and makes it more “sticky” down the road. Keep in mind a campus ministry and a nearby campus church are not substitutes for one another. They play different roles in your student’s life. I’ll provide some key tools to help with this search, but one thing to do in the meantime is have your graduate talk to returning college students about campus ministries they are involved in.
2. Build confidence for the truth and evidence of Christianity and a biblical worldview through the study of apologetics. Never done that before? I’ll provide great resources and an action plan. Done it? Review it. Seriously. This is like the review class you paid for before the SAT or ACT. It increases confidence when faith is put to the test. Apologetics is a form of discipleship and theology that gives confidence in the Christian faith as a reasonable, viable, trustworthy worldview. It helps answer the “why” behind the “what” of what we believe. Your kid’s faith will NOT survive as a hand-me-down faith on the college campus….
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