Be great parents for 18 years... and then disappear

I’m laughing at “Students, Welcome to College; Parents, Go Home”, which describes how universities are becoming very aggressive about kicking parents off the grounds after dropping their kids off, but I know letting go of our kids will prove quite painful when that bittersweet day arrives.

It’s easy for non-parents to say, “Just drop your kids off and leave,” but it’s not that easy:

Grinnell College here, like others, has found it necessary to be explicit about when parents really, truly must say goodbye. Move-in day for the 415 freshmen was Saturday. After computer printers and duffle bags had been carried to dorm rooms, everyone gathered in the gymnasium, students on one side of the bleachers, parents on the other.

The president welcoming the class of 2014 had his back to the parents — a symbolic staging meant to inspire “an aha! moment,” said Houston Dougharty, vice president of student affairs, “an epiphany where parents realize, ‘My student is feeling more comfortable sitting with 400 people they just met.’ ”

Shortly after, mothers and fathers were urged to leave campus….

As for Mr. Dougharty of Grinnell College, for the first time in his academic career he missed his own campus’s move-in day. He and his wife were busy Saturday, dropping off their only child, Allie, at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., to begin her freshman year.

Mr. Dougharty had made reservations at a bed-and-breakfast near the campus for Saturday night, but then his wife, Kimberly, questioned why they should stay around after dropping Allie off.

“I had to look at myself in the mirror,” Mr. Dougharty said. “I had thought, ‘On Sunday morning we can swing by and take Allie to breakfast.’ Kimberly was good and sane — ‘We have to get down the road.’ ”

Posted by James on Monday, August 23, 2010