Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Letting go... 5/13/07

For the second time one Mother's day the stage of our church was graced by Maurine Lyon - first lady of the NACHOG body. Once again, Maurine proved herself to be a deft speaker who can deliver rich and meaningful content in only a few pages of written notes.

Maurine's topic of being in control as a mother and wife could not be more timely for the all of the mothers (and fathers) in the room. In my other life as a college professor, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from controlling parents who simply could not allow their children to grow up and become free, independent adults. Allow me to illustrate with a story less than a week old...

The appointment was set on my calendar by someone other than me. Usually in the month of May I spend most of my time in administrative meetings and writing curriculum for the coming year. So meeting with a prospective student and her parents was not exactly on my "to do" list for the day. Still, they were in the anteroom to my office and courtesy demands that I meet with them for at least 30 minutes.

I must confess that I do not remember their names so I will simply call them "Mom, Dad, and Jill"

I start - "So, what are you interested in studying in college?" I ask looking straight into the eyes of a very bright looking 17 year old.

"I want to study..." Jill is interrupted by Dad "Jill, has always been good at science and she wants to do something in the medical field."

Me - "OK, have you given any thought to the kind of role you would like to play? There are many different jobs in Medicine."

Jill - " I want to be a doctor." No quibbling, no doubt, that was her straightforward answer.

Dad - "Or physical therapist, or something..."

From there the conversation progressed to our program, success rates, where students go to graduate school, the usual stuff. As I was closing off the conversation Mom started her series of questions.

Mom - "What if Jill does not make it into Medical school? What can she do with a degree in PreMed?"

Me - "Her degree will actually be in Biochemistry, not PreMed, and there are dozens of Jobs she will eb qualified for..."

Mom - "But, don't you think that Nursing would be better? I mean, nurses are almost guaranteed jobs when the graduate!"

Me - "Well, the job market for nurses is really good right now. But, it's probably more important for Jill to choose a profession she will be happy with for a lifetime."

Mom - "She will be happy being a Nurse... and she can have a family too! Her sister is a senior in a Nursing program and she already has a job lined up!"

Me - "Jill, what kind of role to do want to play in the field of Medicine?"

Jill - glancing at Mom "Well, I am not sure. I guess being a nurse wouldn't be so bad."

Before you get started, this is NOT a tirade against nurses. I send dozens of excellent students into our nursing programs each year. They live wonderful, fulfilled lives so far as I know. It's just that not everyone is cut out for a life of nursing. It is a highly demanding field that takes dedication and a true love of the profession. Not everyone has that.

What I am trying to illustrate is the outcome of the opposite of Maurine's message. If you do not release control of the lives of those around you, there will be enormous consequences. I cannot tell you the number of shattered spirits that I have seen in my classrooms. The dashed hopes and dreams, broken on parental expectations. We parents think that we are helping our children, when in fact: "to save them, we must let them go"

Well done Maurine!

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