Wall Street Journal columnist Ralph Gardner recently wrote “Embracing a Parental Rite” about attending Parents’ Weekend at his daughter’s college, where she is a senior. Many of us have been through this emotional event so we’re reaching for the tissues. As Mr. Gardener writes:
But there’s probably no better indication that one is unalterably a middle-aged parent than the recognition of how brief a moment college represented in your life. It seems incomprehensible that so much drama and heartbreak and happiness could have been collapsed into four years, especially since your daughter’s college education seems to have passed in a flash.
Yes, emotional and costly! Parents’ Weekend revolves around the three “Rs” that used to drive the economy: restaurants, retail and real estate. Restaurants in that not only do you take your son or daughter out to a nice place but you also include all the kids whose parents couldn’t make it. Table for 12 please (and the check). Retail in that the local stores always manage to run a can’t-miss sale. Of course you also need to stock up in the college bookstore with sweatshirts, hats, umbrellas, key chains and on and on. And real estate: Despite that you already did major damage in Bed, Bath and Beyond in August, it’s time for new flannel sheets for the dorm room or a lamp for the off-campus apartment.
But it’s not only goodies that our children welcome. For the most part, they seem really happy to spend time with us and share their campus and their friends. As Mr. Gardner notes,
And perhaps the most amazing thing about it is that Lucy seems almost as thrilled about seeing us as we are about seeing her, calling us as the journey enters evening to see whether we’re still laboring across Pennsylvania or have already arrived in Ohio. As much as I love my parents, I didn’t look forward to partying with them.
No Parents Allowed
Hard-to-believe but true category: In “It’s not your mom’s job hunt,” tech company executive Dan Finnigan reads the riot act to Gen Y about finding a job on their own. No parents allowed at the job fair or interview or salary negotiations!
There are a few ways that it’s acceptable for parents to help, he notes, offering some tips to Gen Y job-seekers:
- Reading over your resume to give you a fresh perspective, but NOT writing the resume, word for word.
- Coaching you on how to negotiate a salary offer, but NOT negotiating on your behalf, term by term.
- Brainstorming ideas for your job search, but NOT doing the search, job by job.
- Giving you practice interview questions, but NOT serving as your reference.
- Alerting you to a local job fair, but NOT attending it with you (or worse yet, for you).
- Talking over the pros and cons of job choices, but NOT making the final job decision.