Being your student’s parental partner
By THOMAS KEON
I have listened to many student graduation speeches over the years and have spoken with countless graduates filled with pride about what they celebrate on graduation day. I have heard stories about favorite professors, life changing learning experiences and an eagerness to put degrees to work to make a difference in our world.
Throughout those stories, I also tend to hear something else—the appreciation graduates have for caring, understanding and even questioning parents. Within the lives of college students, parents are important influencers.
No grades, but…
Though parents do not earn the passing marks that lead to their sons’ or daughters’ degree, in various ways they contribute to those marks. Though parents do not stay up all hours of the night studying, they do tend to put in a lot of long hours cooking, laundering and performing other gestures of sacrificial love on behalf of their students. And though parents are not responsible for completing class projects, turning in papers or preparing for a team presentation, they do take on responsibility of supporting their students’ efforts in whatever way they can.
A college education is truly a partnership. Students, of course, do the heavy lifting of learning. But in the background are parents who willingly do everything they can as contributors to their students’ success. A partnership also means asking difficult questions, providing a shoulder to lean or cry on, or just offering an encouraging word of reassurance.
Parental partners do not have all the answers, but they can and do muster up amazing amounts of support. Whatever else you can do for your sons and daughters as students, there is nothing more important than being there for them.
At Purdue Calumet, nearly 70 percent of our enrollees are first generation students. That is, pending their persistence and ability to succeed to graduation day and receive their diploma, they will become the first members of their family to earn a degree.
Counting on you
Arguably, the highlight of our Purdue Calumet Commencement Exercises is the emotional outburst expressed by family members when their loved one’s name is announced as a Purdue degree recipient.
It is a day you, too, will cherish with overwhelming pride. As a parental partner, you can help make it happen. Whether he and she yet realize it, your son and daughter are counting on you.
Thomas L. Keon