Wednesday, August 25, 2010

off to college

Today, my older son is off to begin his freshman year at college. It will be his first extended time away from home and, although he was dead-anxious to go, still there were uncertainties in his silences.

I was sent away to boarding school in the 4th grade. I cried like a baby then. Nowadays, the confusions and tears are internalized. On the one hand, it's all normal and a progression of life. I do want my son to test his wings. On the other hand there is an utterly irrational whisper insisting that my son belongs at home with me.

Buddhists will note appropriately that there is attachment in all of this -- the very stuff that nourishes the soil of suffering. True. And also true is the fact that I will make no effort to turn away from or dissect or somehow dissolve that soil ... that's how deep the attachment is.

The older I get, the more convinced I become that peace has to do with greeting what comes with open arms ... even if it hurts.


  1. I hear ya ...Because we see things as good , we also see bad, Just today had a conversation with my daughter about just being. No good , no bad, just is...Not easy but there it is none the less.

  2. " The older I get, the more convinced I become that peace has to do with greeting what comes with open arms ... even if it hurts."

    Yup. Perhaps this, and the unqualified love one vests in children, are what make the trip worth while.

  3. My son left to begin his second year of college yesterday. His leaving once again set off bittersweet emotions.

    Except for the references to "God", I find the expression of the sentiments in the Serenity Prayer helpful. For me, it does a fair job of not just expressing the wisdom of how to meet situations; it also gives a clue as to how to handle them.

    The Serenity Prayer

    God, grant us the...
    Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
    Courage to change the things we can, and the
    Wisdom to know the difference
    Patience for the things that take time
    Appreciation for all that we have, and
    Tolerance for those with different struggles
    Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
    Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
    Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

    - Reinhold Niebuhr

  4. I'll never suffer an empty nest. Not because I'm a better Buddhist, I'll just never spawn rug rats. :D

  5. Congratulations to your son, Genkaku. I went off to college at 17 (1997) and had a fantastic time, and I wish the same for your son.