A College Parent’s Prayer by the Rev. Ben Robertson

This past Sunday I was thrilled to see such a great group of kids bring their backpacks to the Chapel to be blessed before another school year: from little ones grinning from ear to ear, so proud of their first “big kid” backpack, to teenagers geared up for the challenges of another year.  I was also glad to see so many teachers and administrators stand with our young people to receive our prayers for a excellent and safe school year.  As a parent, I am so grateful for the ministry of teachers – they do so much and care so deeply about our kids and they can not be thanked enough.

However, one group of kids was not physically present on Sunday.  They were in Starkville or Oxford or Jackson or lots of other places.  They are our college kids.  Many of them are already moved into the dorm and/or navigating the complexities of classes, extracurriculars, roommates, rush, and so much more.  And for their parents, this is undoubtedly an equally complex time emotionally – great pride for what your child has accomplished, great sadness that you don’t see your child as much, and great worry about all of the temptations and freedoms before them.  One dad, who just dropped off a child for their freshman year, remarked to me in an e-mail that he might have to, “buy a Corvette and get a spray on tan.”

As we keep our children, and their teachers and administrators, in our heartfelt prayers, we should also remember the parents (and then pray again for the teachers and administrators, because us parents can sometimes be more challenging than their students!).  And as our college parents cross a monumental threshold in their children’s lives, and their own, here is a quick prayer (based on a Parent’s Prayer found on the University of Marquette website (http://www.marquette.edu/faith/a-parents-prayer.php)):

A College Parent’s Prayer

God of life and love, you have given me this child to care for a little while.  My heart is welled with joy and thanksgiving, pride and anxiety, holding on and letting go.

These years of growing up have moved so quickly – so many things left undone, so much unsaid, so much I still hope to instill in my child, even as they take this new step on the journey of life. 

Help us as our lives reflect the new reality of college.  Show us new ways to be present to each other in love and in trust.  Calm my fears. Strengthen and protect my child in the midst of the challenges and temptations which surround all students.  Provide good friends and mentors for my child during these transformative years.  May the Church, the inspiration of the Spirit, and the support of Your love continue to be a part of their daily life.  And help me provide support and encouragement, while honoring the young adult that will always be my beloved child.  In Christ’s name, AMEN.