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Our Words Can Be Sweet To Their Soul

Parent-to-Parent E/4:29

Let us be mindful of one of the smallest of our parts (the tongue). Our children depend on it. May the wisdom shared by a couple of seasoned LU Family members be an inspiration to you wherever the Lord is leading you and your family’s conversations.

Spring semester! What Comes After Graduation?

Some of us have just made it through our first few months of empty-nesting or had our oldest head off on their own for the first time. Some are preparing for the inevitable stress and maybe even a little panic about graduation. Either way, congratulations! It’s exciting!

If you find yourself in the latter category and your student is about to graduate, hang on because it’s gonna be a whirlwind the next few months. You may be trying to prepare yourself for your child to enter a new phase of life, and the rush of an LU graduation can certainly help distract you from all the feelings. Maybe your child has found a job or has some prospects on the horizon but if you are among the lucky ones that will have them home with you again (or maybe you don’t feel so lucky about that because your plans to turn their bedroom into a sewing room were just dashed…), remember how stressful that graduation is for them, too. They’ve been preparing for four or more years to get out there and do their thing, and chances are, they don’t want to take what they probably see as a step backward. American culture pushes us to be independent at an early age but let’s consider the importance of inter-dependence instead, and how we need each other both from biblical and sociological standpoints.

God made us to be in community, especially families. If you find yourself with a little fuller nest in a few months, try to find ways to welcome your child home and support them as you encourage them to pursue their dreams. Take advantage of the time to have a little more influence and to get to know them as an adult. It really is a special season of life! Hang in there, you’re not the first to walk this path and you are in good company! Ann S., Graduate

The Kind of Encouragement that Doesn’t Sound Like Criticism

Proverbs 16:24 says that “Kind words are like honey sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

I think it is easy to forget how much power and impact our words can have. Words that would normally just go in one ear and out the other can take on a whole new meaning depending on the circumstances. If your student is in the midst of a struggle, feeling down, depressed, anxious or just really having a bad day, then a “you need to get it together” or similar comment can make it much worse depending on his or her frame of mind, mental toughness or sensitivity. Instead, suggest they may need a little break to help put things back in perspective. Some things to recommend: go to the mall and walk about for a bit; go to a restaurant off campus that they may like to eat; try Barnes and Noble to get a coffee and sit for a few. Does your child use aromatherapy or homeopathic oils? Many are good for relaxing. A walk, hot shower, some quiet time with God and prayer or a power nap are all amazing perspective changers. I could never suggest the nap because mine would have slept the entire day and didn’t need an ounce of encouragement to do so!

When you are talking together bring up things that you know won’t add fuel to the fire. Tell them you thought of them when you saw their favorite food at the grocery store, something funny the dog did, or something you saw on TV that made you laugh. It is so hard to not say what you want to say sometimes, especially when you know many ways their issue could have been avoided. Chances are they know that as well. Count to 100 under your breath, bite your tongue, or take a deep breath. Remind them how loved they are and that you know they can make good decisions that are praiseworthy. It helps to remember that they are still fairly new to being in charge of their decisions and schedules. If you jump on the criticism wagon too quickly then you will have missed an opportunity to show grace and offer a little gentle guidance and encouragement. As moms (and dads) we want to be the person they call when they are walking back from class or waiting for the bus just to chat. If your student needs to vent or tell you about a problem they are more likely to do so if they know you will always be encouraging instead of critical. Our Pastor once said, “The tongue is one of the smallest parts of the body but it can do the most damage to others.” Wanda B., Graduate

Blessings and grace to all who hear.

Parent-to-Parent E/4:29’s contributing authors are parents of students who are currently enrolled in undergraduate degree programs or have recently graduated and are continuing their higher education in a graduate degree program at Liberty. Each month of the blog, Parent-to-Parent E/4:29 offers practical tips, helpful guidance, and encouraging wisdom that they may serve you “only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (as in, Ephesians 4:29). 

We invite you to write. If you are interested in sharing your insights and tips with fellow parents, email your name and student’s ID to LUFamily@liberty.edu today!

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