January 10, 2019

Dear Families,

Happy New Year! I hope that your break was both restful and enjoyable. I treasured every minute with my family, even the family meetings. All of them…

Maddy and I made the long trek from Flagstaff to Highlands Ranch on Sunday, December 16th. She found herself ready to enjoy a much-needed break from the regiment of college academics.

We learned a valuable lesson during her freshman year at NAU. That year, re-entry to life at home provided us with many opportunities to grow as a family. It also allowed Paul and me a time of reflection.

That year, we quickly realized that parenting an adult child (huh, I just noticed that oxymoron) comes with an entirely new set of parenting firsts. Let me tell you, I found them all to be quite exciting. Several emojis fit here. I’ll let you decide which ones you imagine.  

To be clear, Maddy grew out of childhood long ago.  Yet, upon her return from school that year, Paul and I found ourselves wanting to revert to caring for her as though she was still in middle school. As you can imagine, Maddy found this to be completely awesome…sarcasm intended.  We afforded her the opportunity to attend school in another state. She completed her semester on the Dean’s List. She managed all of her affairs with ease. She earned an opportunity to become a Peer Jack Student Mentor. But we expected her to be our child again. Epic Parent Fail.

Fast forward to December 2018, Maddy continues to navigate college life successfully. She maintains a Dean’s list GPA while supporting 23 out of state college freshman as they learn how to navigate college and two leadership roles in her sorority.

I treasured every minute of our road trip. Why? We knew we had college re-entry figured out. We anticipated no bumps or hiccups. College re-entry was a piece of cake…

Senioritis provided an exciting new opportunity for growth. OY.

Every stage in our children’s lives provides us with growth opportunities as parents. Sometimes we adjust quickly and with ease. Other times, the adjustments bring frustration, heartache, and challenges. Over the years, I realized that my biggest struggles as a parent generally started because I hadn’t adjusted my parenting to the current needs of Maddy and/or Hunter.

The second part of the year provides an opportunity for further growth and development for our students. Often this growth comes at an exponential rate. At times it seems as though they change overnight. They do. As you begin to see even further changes in your child or children this semester, I encourage you to reflect on rather than react to these changes.

I reacted…several times over the break…Problematic for sure. Especially with a strong-willed child that has a mirror image of my personality.

I make lists of the changes that I see in Hunter and Maddy in my journal…well, at least when I’m not blindsided by them. Then, depending on which child is demonstrating the change, I set a date to spend time with them. I share with them the changes I am noticing in them. I ask them how I can support them. I share with them the negatives that I have seen because of the changes. I remind them that as their mom, I can’t ignore the negative or allow it to grow. I ask them for suggestions on how they would like to be approached and corrected. I share that I will do my best to respect their ideas. However, I remind them that ultimately, they have been entrusted to me. As their mom, I will always hold the final word because I am accountable for how I raise them.

I share these thoughts in hopes of encouraging you as you walk the new semester. I hope that as you navigate the next 4 months of school this will serve to support you as your student continues to become the individual he or she is intended to be. Having a plan in place has helped our family maintain healthy relationships. It does not mean we avoid emotional overreactions, outbursts, and drama. But it does allow us the opportunity to regroup quickly.

I apologize for the length of this letter. Who am I kidding? These letters are always long. I know what you’re thinking. This one is exceptionally lllloooonnnngggg. In my defense, I’ve had 2 weeks off.  

Welcome back!

Honored to Serve You All,

Janet Worley