Empty Nest and Lessons for My Son

September 12, 2012 at 5:00 am / by

All over the country, parents are dropping their kids off at college. Cars packed with tubs filled with new bedding and underwear. Co-eds are eyeing one another while parents nervously and emotionally say their goodbyes.  It is a wave of hands, blow of kisses, and the parade of parents with teary eyes roll down highways across the nation, while their kids cheer their newfound independence and freedom.

Just like that, our son…our baby is off to college, and my husband and I are “empty nesters”.

We had a little over 18.5 years to nurture, coach, mentor, discipline, love-up on and teach values and morals to Dylan.

Fly little (over 6 feet) bird, fly!

Who am I kidding?  As I wished him all the best, good luck son, I trust you, yada-yada on the outside… inside, I am thinking and wondering if we ever remembered to teach him useful and important lessons he will need someday.

This overwhelming panic and feeling of failure started to creep in.  Is this a good time to ask my husband if he ever taught Dylan all the things I think I forgot?  At this point, I’m wondering when he learned to tie his shoes, so the really important life lessons are not coming to mind.

When did he learn how to treat a lady?  Does he know that it is proper to stand up when a woman enters the room?  Will he come around the car to open the door for her or leave her stranded inside?

I can almost picture him walking away and leaving some little sorority gal sitting there pouting.

Doors and ladies – which one of us taught him this etiquette? Frankly, I can’t remember and it is a little late to ask Dave if he ever did this.

I know my husband had the talk with him years ago, but have we been as open and gut wrenchingly honest with him about promiscuity, STD’s, pregnancy and how one mistake–just one–can ruin his plans for the future?

Have I said “the only safe sex, is no sex”, enough times around our house that it is seared into his intelligent, but testosterone-filled head?

My memory is of Dylan walking into his room and closing the door after I parroted these words, but he was a teenager and this happened a lot.

When did we remind Dylan that is it better to admit mistakes and move on and learn from them?

Oh, and was it me or Dave that taught Dylan it is better to be a leader than a follower, but to always be willing to listen and learn from great leaders?

I’m concerned it is only mine and Dave’s own life experience that taught us this and we neglected to actually teach this to him.

Did we encourage our son to research facts for himself?

Teachers, friends, colleagues, church pastors, and – yes – the news media, can and will lead astray.

SNOPES isn’t reliable at times.  I hope that he will remember that the Bereans were “of more noble character” because they searched for truth.

There are many lessons I wanted to impart to my son and I know my husband feels the same way.  There are also many mistakes we made as parents.

However, as he moves onto his next stage in life and into the college dorms (oh my goodness!), we can only hope and pray that he holds onto the goodness he was born with, the joy he exudes, the kindness he extends freely, and that he uses that amazing God-given brain with gusto.


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  1. Lainie Sloane says:

    I love this article, Debi. Great job!

  2. Josephine says:

    Debi you and Dave did a great job raising Dylan you should be so proud to have a class act Son and to boot he is so handsome. The girls will be all around him HA!!!!!! Your friend Josephine God bless

  3. Mona. says:

    Enjoyed reading this touching reflection Debi. Thank you.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Proverbs 22:6
    Well written! You have done your job well, and I know you will continue to be there for Dylan to answer these questions in the future. Train a child when they are young, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 Well done, good and faithful servant.

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