Soon our children will be home for Christmas. They will come back into our lives like stray dogs and cats scratching at the door, seeking holiday shelter, food and warmth. And we, their parents, will gladly let them in.
But not without curiosity, as if to say, “where have you been?”
For years before, we did know where they were, what they were doing, how they were spending their time, more or less. We knew—at least vaguely—who their friends were, the grades they achieved, how they spent their money, what they ate, how much TV they watched, how much they slept, what piqued their interests, what dreams they had and what disappointed them. There were mysteries, for sure, but we had a reassuring sense that we knew or at least overheard what was going on. However, just like that, one day they packed their bags and left home. Even if “home” is simply where they shuffle in at night to sleep, they leave each morning again with carry-on bags, headed for that other teeming city called University, to which we are strangers and outsiders. So, of course, we are curious.
I have wondered why sometimes my adult friends get more information out of my children than I do during the holidays. We’ll be at a gathering, and another adult will casually engage them: “How is school?” “What are you favorite courses?” “Do you like your roommate?” “Is it what you expected?” “Who are your good friends?” “What careers interest you?” Something like that. Pretending not to listen, I nevertheless strain to tune in. To my surprise, I discover that they are suddenly full of information, freely divulging, almost chatty. Now, my wife and I pride ourselves on our open communication with our two daughters. For sure, each is different from the other (same parents, same house, same food all these years—how did they become so different?). One, for instance, is an “external processor,” so it’s not hard to get a little “intel” now and again if we sit quietly within the verbal “splash zone.” My other daughter is a little quieter, a little more coy. If I make an ill-timed or overeager effort to probe her thoughts and feelings—poof!—they dart away from me like minnows.
My friend calls this “the hook.” The “hook” is the emotional need that comes out from me (like Captain Hook’s hook) to gather information. Of course, I just want to be reassured. We all have desires, hopes and fears for our children. We can’t help it. They are bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh—or something close to that. Our wellbeing feels inextricably tied to theirs. We want to know if they are happy, productive, hopeful, or at least not lonely, lost, discouraged or wasting time (and money). Perhaps I am speaking only for myself. Perhaps I am particularly needy and curious. However, I know that my kids are dimly aware that the same question asked by my friend (say, “Is college what you expected?”) is not quite the same coming from me. And that’s because I need to know. They sense that their answers are emotionally important for me, and that causes a slight hesitation as they wonder now what the right answer is.
Of course, on the one hand, they should forgive us—even thank us—for caring so much. On the other hand, I want to take the pressure off, to signal that they don’t have to take care of me. So I’m working on it. In particular, I am trying to mix a little friendship into my earnest parenting, to free them from the burden. The difference will be felt less through what I ask and more through the underground anxiety or “hook” with which I ask it. How do I take the hook out? Just one way: I have to trust God that he is parenting them, too, and that the Holy Spirit walks with them. I have to trust that He knew them before they were born, and has had His hand on them their whole lives. I need to remember that He walked with me when I left my parent’s home and ventured into the wide world way back when. When I can remember that, I can often just be with my children-now-adults with some measure of peace and friendship. I find myself driving with them, eating with them, talking about this and that, letting the conversation wander where it will. And then suddenly, when I’m not expecting it, it is they who come out of hiding and invite me in (as my daughter did last night): “Dad, here’s something I’ve been learning about myself lately. What do you think about . . .?” And that makes learning to trust so worth it.
Todd Pickett, Ph.D, Dean of Spiritual Development
Do you have an extra bed or even a comfy couch available this Christmas break? There are Biola Global students who cannot travel home for the holidays. They are left with limited options when it comes to where to stay, how they will eat and how they spend their time. We encourage you to create a new family tradition by opening your home to a global student from Biola this Christmas break.
You can sign up to be put on our list of potential hosts here.
**Signing up does not mean you will automatically be placed with a student but rather will be contacted should students inquire.
Thanks to the generosity of more than 450 donors, we have raised over $169,000 to make Biola University more affordable for all students. This is the largest amount that has ever been donated online to Biola in a single day.
It’s not too late to be a part of making Biola more affordable for all our students. You can give through the Biola Fund website or the #JoinBiola website.
Every year Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts releases a daily devotional, art piece and song enabling Christians to reflect thoughtfully on the birth of Christ our Lord. You can see past Advent devotionals and sign up to receive daily emails with the devotional here: http://ccca.biola.edu/advent/
In Fall 2016 Biola launched a Master’s program in Speech Language Pathology. We are excited to raise up qualified graduates to impact the world for Christ through this unique area of medicine. Let us introduce you to Tonya Dantuma. Hear about what led Tonya to study Speech Language Pathology, her experiences in the field, why she loves her job and why she believes Biola’s program is needed in today’s world. Check out her full interview with Biola Now here .
Fall 2016 Housing Check-Out and Meal Plans End after Finals Week Dec.12-16
All non-graduating/non-commencement working residents should check-out/move-out within 24 hours of their last final, or by 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, whichever is earliest. Meal plans end Friday, Dec. 16.
Approved residents (graduating or on list to work commencement) will be granted an extension to check-out/move-out by Saturday, Dec.17, between 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
Residents will not have access to their rooms over Christmas Break (except apartment residents who sign up/pay for Christmas Housing). Residents are given a list of items they MUST complete for Check-Out (and more items if cancelling and moving out). Check-out includes returning the room key to ResLife or Housing (or receive $80 replacement charge) and other preparations (ex. cleaning the room thoroughly, dumping all trash, emptying/defrosting mini fridges, unplugging electronics, removing Christmas decorations, etc.). Failure to complete these steps will result in fines.
Christmas Break 2016 (Dec.17-Jan.1)
Apartment Christmas Housing residents who signed up will keep their room keys and not need to check-out with ResLife or Housing.
Interterm 2017 (Jan. 2 - Jan. 22)
Residents who signed up for Interterm Housing can Check-In starting Monday, Jan. 2, between 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. at the Housing Office (and continues weekdays 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).
*Students may sign up for an OPTIONAL Interterm Meal Plan for an additional cost, which begins as early as Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.
Need more info?
Check out the Housing Handbook and
Housing Website for more details about Fall Check-Out, Christmas Break, Interterm and Spring Housing.
Have family members who are too far from Biola University to make it to Fall Commencement? Have no fear! Biola will be live streaming both graduation ceremonies online for family and friends to watch from across the globe. You can find more information about the ceremonies at biola.edu/commencement and watch the ceremony directly from Biola’s homepage on Dec. 16th.
Switch along with other Biola friends and earn the same rewards while helping fund scholarships! Apply by 12/31/16 and get a FREE 12 oz. bag of Lanna Coffee. Lanna Coffee is grown by northern Thailand hill tribes. Profits from Lanna provide clean water, healthcare, and education. APPLY TODAY!