A Letter to Our Son: My Love Goes With You Always

Dear Grey,

Once you walk out that front door in August, your life, your relationships and your perspective will be forever altered.

Always be aware that everyone you will meet has a story. Some of those are worth more of your time than others. Never, ever discount someone simply based on how they look, where they are from, what their educational background is or the manner in which you came across them. Treat them with respect and kindness consistently. Listen for understanding of them, not to respond to them.

Letter from mom to college-cound son
Student sitting on plaza at Columbia University.

Advice for College Son

Manners are useful. They serve as the graphite on the squeaky hinge of human relationships. Falling back on them consistently, even when in doubt, will always be in your best interests.

Keep an open mind about every opportunity which presents itself to you. You tend to be task and project focused. Sometimes things seemingly without a specific purpose are worth your time and energy to explore. There are lessons, blessings and joys everywhere at all times even in the most mundane of circumstances. Try something new at least once a day. Go somewhere new and different at least once a week. Read something controversial or contrarian to get your thoughts moving.

There is value in the old. Your health, both physical and mental, will serve you for your entire life. Guard both carefully. It is far easier to maintain health than it is to regain it. Running is discipline for you. Don’t leave it behind. Your friends may not be with you physically but text them or call them occasionally. Connection is important. Realize that some of those friendships will completely fade over time-but some will simply burnish and become treasure.

Above all, trust your gut. Not anxiety about all things new, but the sense that something is truly right (or wrong) with what is in front of you. Most things don’t have to be resolved TODAY. Take a step back, use that heightened awareness to inform your thought process when you determine a course of action, make a decision or establish a relationship.

Remember that when you come back home and go forth again-it will be an adjustment every time, for all of us. Settle back in gently on each end of the trip.

Our love goes with you always…


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About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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