Last week a colleague here at Catholic News Service took his older boy off to college for the first time. It was an emotional time for him and his wife, but a time of great joy and anticipation for their son Matthew. My friends have done a great job in raising their two sons. The boys are smart, gifted athletes, have great values and a solid faith. Like all parents whose children begin this next big step in their lives, they hope the kids hold on to all they have learned as they are exposed to new ideas in a bigger world, not the least of which is their faith.
Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, vice president for mission and ministry at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., wrote Aug. 19 in the Washington Post‘s On Faith section that college is indeed a time when young people are confronted with new ideas and questions that will challenge many aspects of their lives, but that is all part of growing into adulthood. But it can be, well, a bumpy road for students and parents.
“Young adults transitioning to college need to be gentle with themselves and others. Parents do well to model that patience,” he wrote.
If you have a daughter or son who’s off to college for the first time or heading back again, and you’re holding your breath on how all those years of religious education are going to hold up, check out Father O’Brien’s “How to Keep the Faith on Campus.” It will help you keep your faith in your college student.