Leave home without leaving your family

By Mercedes Fuego

You want to go to college but you are somewhat laid back. At home you have mom’s cooking, your laundry is done, a comfortable room… Of course there are more powerful reasons than these not to leave home: you are shy, change scares you, you don’t think you can be independent, etc.

And some that are much more profound: you think your parents still need you; you can help your younger siblings, assist with household chores, or by getting a job. These are very valid and powerful reasons. But you also have to look at it from another perspective. If what concerns you is helping your parents, consider what, in the long term, is the best way to help them. Will you be able to help without an education or a professional career? Would you be better prepared to serve others without much knowledge or with a good formation?

If you really are considering attending college for reasons that are not purely selfish, think about the ways you can be more useful. Most likely you will discover the path to school. But it is hard to leave your family and home. Here are a few tips to help you “leave home without leaving your family.”

  • To begin with, consider that your house is not the family. The fact is, the family is within you because it is part of your identity and person.
  • Consider who you are. If you can maintain your identity, despite the pressures to change your habits (by drinking, gambling, and sex) or to become like everyone else in terms of spending and lifestyle.
  • Consider where you come from. You might be tempted to belong to a different class, to reject what up until now you have lived with your family to follow the customs of others. There are young people who yield to the temptation of denying their culture and family. Keep your identity and never deny what you are.
  • Consider what you deeply believe in. Try to keep those beliefs and values even if some of your companions question them. Value what you have received from your parents and all the sacrifices they made for you. Give thanks for everything, no matter how small it may seem.
  • Do not lose sight of why you are studying. Remind yourself of this every morning.
  • Finally, and possibly this is the most obvious: there is always the telephone, Internet, Skype, Facebook to keep in touch with your family.

You will realize that your family is with you. You may have physically left your home, but you are and live with your family.

Your Turn
What temptations have you had or are having to not go to college? In what ways do you overcome them? In what other ways can you stay connected with your family?


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