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Hel(l)o without the copter…

August 22, 2011

I guess I gotta find some orange and blue...

As some of the you know, we dropped our oldest child Sarina at college last Thursday.  She is a freshman at University of Illinois.  The actual day was a combination of joy, pride, sadness and a little fear.  It was  a weird feeling driving back to Oak Park thinking, “OK, now how do I relate to my daughter in a meaningful way?”  I do not want to be one of those helicopter parents that is constantly swirling and running interference for their children.  Yet, I don’t want to go the other direction and become a guy who is only relevant when a tuition check or extra cash is needed.

Well, as a parent of a college student  for a full four days (doesn’t that make me an expert!!!), I have discovered a simple truth.  Our kids still need most of the same things we provided before, they just might take a different form.  Encouragement, validation, humor, empathy and challenge are still solid plays for college students.

With that in mind, I have entered the world of “skyping” with Sarina.  Being able to see her makes all the difference in the world.  I would encourage any dad (or mom) who has a college student or travels a lot or works a ton of hours to use skype or some other video conferencing tool.  Anywhere from 85-93% of communication is nonverbal, so the visual is critical.  Also, just the act of setting a “skype” appointment communicates value and anticipation for children of any age.  When we take the initiative for even a 5 minute conversation, our positive intent is easily understood.

Remember this formula:  Simplicity + Focus = Positive communication

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach from Oak Park, IL,  contact him

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan Wozniak permalink
    August 22, 2011 10:03 pm

    Another Awesome Post! I look forward to the further adventures of the non-copter college dad. Thank you for sharing your saga with us.

    Sue Wozniak

  2. Alice Austin permalink
    August 26, 2011 3:04 am

    I loved this the first time I read it and had to come back to it as my grandson just went off to college and my daughter is feeling…well, miles away both physically and mentally. Thank you for the suggestion of Skype. Blessings to You & Yours! Alice Austin

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