Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Are We STILL Talking About College?

WOW, if you want to create a stir - send your daughter off to college and then allow her to come home half way through her junior year!  Seriously!  At this writing, over 1700 people have read that original post and more than 400 have read her follow up.  So before we stop talking about it and move on with life, I would love to address a few things that have not only come up in comments left or private messages I have received, but also some things that have been on my heart.

In response to the "thank you for being bold". You are welcome, but you can thank God on that one. We never felt bold.  Scared, yes. Bold, not so much!  Life decisions are never easy.

About feeling the pressure from others.  Why, oh why, do we allow ourselves to do that?  I mean, really.  Especially from relatives.  Yes, one of my biggest fears when we finally made the decision to let Ashton come home was how our own parents would react.  I had hinted around of the possibility, but once the decision was really made I told them and then held my breathe waiting for the explosion.  Guess what?  It did not happen.  They were loving, supportive and kind.  (Really no surprise if you know our parents.)  But, you know what?  Even if that had not been the reaction, so what?  I would have listened to their opinions and moved on.  They are wise parents but they are not Ashton's parents.  Lesson here - trust that you are a good and capable parent.  It is sad when people do not support us but it is not life changing.

Stay at home daughters.  Wow, this is a subject I am still exploring.  As I mentioned, Ashton had read many books on this subject and then I had asked her to stop.  I though they were filling her head with too many things contrary to what we, as her parents, believed.  Really what they were doing was fanning a flame that God had put in her heart.  Some would say that she is not a "real" stay at home daughter since she is continuing her education, but she has decided to stay home under our roof, care, and love until God sees fit to provide someone else to provide those things for her.  For you stay at home girls out there, I applaud you for going against the norm.  There should NEVER be anything shameful about living with your parents until you are married, if that is what God wills.

College is not for everyone.  Remember, this is a new thought for me and I am still working on what that looks like for our family.  Truth be known, Ashton would probably just as soon be done and continue her sewing business, but she is so close to earning her degree that we all feel like she needs to finish.  BUT, college is not for everyone.  Yes, we need doctors and lawyers and teachers and nurses.  But we also need a good many of professionals who need to get their training another way.  Many mechanics and electricians and barbers and seamstresses need vocational training and experience.  Let's be careful as a society to not box our kids in.  Let's be bold and allow them to explore their interests and then find the best way to send them out their successfully.

There is more that one way to get a degree if you want one.  We have been impressed with online learning from day one.  Lots of colleges offer classes.  Just know that online classes and online degrees are two different things.  Do your research.  Online school can be a cheaper and faster way to get a degree, but online is not meant for everyone.  Know what you want and then go get it.

To the young girls who have messaged me about being at college and wanting to not be.  I am praying for each and every one of you.  I encourage you to sit down with your parents and pray for wisdom and guidance.  Shut out the world's ideas for you, write down your goals and then decide how to best accomplish them.

To the moms that have shared their stories about going off to college and then coming home.  Thank you for reminding me that the best job I could ever have is to be a wife and mom.  If that is what my daughter desires, how could I not want that for her?

For you young men who are struggling with the same college decisions - may The Lord lead you!  Oh, how hard it must be when you are to become, in all likelihood, the head of a household and main breadwinner.  I want that for my sons.  I want them to be able to support a wife who does not have to work if that is her desire.  I also want my boys to be happy.  It is a fine line and I have to trust that The Lord will reveal it in our lives and in yours.

To my sweet daughter - thank you for being the young woman God made you.  Thank you for your patience, honesty, love and forgiveness as we walked this path.  You are going to do great things and dad and I are proud of you.  One day we will look back on this and laugh, right? ;)

And one last thing.  Two really, that we learned through this experience.  If you are struggling - please reach out to others!  Several people have commented to Ashton that they did not know she was lonely and not particularly happy.  Let's face it, those are not just general discussions you have randomly.  Don't be afraid to have deep conversations and ask hard questions.  People can only help if they know there is a problem.  Ask for help and do not be afraid to share how you feel.

Also, if someone means a lot to you, if you think they are great, or if you admire them, whatever, tell them now.  People need to hear those things now.  I told my kids a few weeks ago that when people die is not the time to tell them how great they are or how much you loved and admired them.  Too late, friends.  I know I am a words of affirmation kind of gal, but I do not think that there is one person out there that does not need to hear how much they matter.  How much they mean to you.  How much you care.  Later may be too late. Tell them NOW!

So with that... you, friends, matter to us!  Your comments are appreciated.  Your prayers are precious.  And your friendship is treasured.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We are privileged to be on this journey with you.

If we can pray for you, let us know.  We KNOW that these are heavy decisions and it would be our privilege to cover you in prayer.

Happy and thankful to again be counting to six!


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  1. I just wanted to comment how much I've been blessed by these college posts. Your daughter reminds me a lot of myself. :) I LOVE staying home with my family, and am so blessed to be able to do so. I never went to college (or took college courses online), but I don't feel like that was necessary for me. I have had my own sewing business (Joyfully Sewn Designs) for the past 14 years since I graduated from homeschool high school, and I love being able to use the talents the Lord has given me to bless others all over the country as well as being here to serve my family by doing nearly all the cooking, and sharing in the cleaning load.

    My older brother and younger sister never went to college either, and my sister has written and published 6 books (and is constantly working on more) as well as teaching writing to some of the kids in our area. My brother (who is married with 5 kids) owns his own business (Light of Faith Resources), works with my dad in his roofing business, and has been a campaign manager for several conservative Christian men in our area in their successful run for State Representative and State Senate. I want to encourage everyone that it IS possible to support yourself and provide for your family WITHOUT a college education. :)

    Sometimes college is necessary, but not always. Trust the Lord to guide you, and He will provide the skills and tools needed for whatever work He has for you to do whether through college or some other way. He is faithful when we follow Him and obey His leading!

    If I can help Ashton in any way with her sewing business, or anything, I would be more than happy to do so! :)

    May the Lord bless you all! (I'm so glad I found your blog. :))

    1. Thank you Sarah for your story! I would love to see you and Ash be in touch, she could use a mentor in this business! Thank you. Glad you found our blog as well. Be blessed!

  2. I have sons and I, too, when they become adults, would like for them to have jobs that will allow them to support their wives and children so that the wives can stay home (and hopefully homeschool my grandchildren :-) ). I believe society puts way too much weight on the idea of college. We know many people who don't have a college degree that are providing comfortably for their families.

    I tell my sons that I want them to build their relationship with God, practice listening to His voice, and allow Him to lead them in the direction He wants them to go. That, to me, is what's important - that they follow God's voice, and not the world's.

    I enjoyed reading your post as online (college) schooling is a topic we're certainly opened to in our home.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Clara. I am encouraged daily that our boys CAN be successful in life even without a college degree if that is where the Lord leads them. Just read Sarah's story above! May your boys follow His lead!

  3. I have truly loved reading your family blog! (It inspired me to start my own). I was and am a lot like Ashton in how she felt about college. I am actually right now in my junior year online with Liberty University and will have my Master's in Elementary Education in 2 years. God speaks to us all in unique ways. It is our job to listen to him and not the world. I applaud you and Ashton for listening to God's calling and not the opinions of others. I also stayed home with my parents until finding my husband. It's not for everyone but for me it was, I still worked and went to school online but I didn't feel the need to leave my family just because I was "of age". Take the Duggar family for instance, some of their girls are in their mid 20's and they have degree's but are following God's plan for their life and for them that means staying at home until the man God has for them comes along. It is so refreshing to see families and children who know and follow God's path. I have really enjoyed reading this college posts and again, it warms my heart to see your children in God's will. To Ashton, Keep following God's will and remember you are not the only one out there who sees college the way you do, and even if you were it is right where God wants you and that is the best path you can be on (I know you already know that, God has blessed you with amazing Godly parents). Thank you again for your posts and encouragement!

    1. Thank you Amanda! I did not realize you stayed home until marriage. You have a beautiful family and I am so glad we have gotten to know you. May the Lord bless you in all you do!

  4. I just want to mention that there is quite a difference between a daughter deciding to stay home longer than the "norm" (which is fine; we have also had a son do that) and the "stay at home daughters" movement. The former is about doing what is right for each young woman. The latter is about controlling young women, limiting their choices and options, and confining them to a very narrow sphere of life. It's absolutely required if the whole "patriarchy movement" is to succeed, because that entire movement is based on women having no options and choices in their lives. If the patriarchy proponents "allow" their daughters to leave home, those daughters will find out that there is much more to life than "serving my father. Thus, it's really not about the daughters at all, but about the fathers and the men the daughters are likely to marry. Assuming the father is willing to give up his personal servants and actually allow the daughters to get married, which sadly some of those fathers are not.


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