I realized as I thought through this post, that this doesn’t just apply to me. That parents are seeing kids go back to college, and it’s weird, and hard, and maybe still doesn’t feel quite right after a year or two. That the feeling of not being there too is shared by a few of us.
This time of year, this weekend actually, my beloved Alma mater New Tribes Bible Institute welcomes new and old students back to its campus to study the Bible a little bit more. This weekend, the halls will be filled with teens and their parents, eager to see their home for the next two years. It’ll be filled with people who have done the ropes of college already, ready to settle in this next phase.
There will be shouts of excitement as old friends see each other again, and the questionings, “What dorm are you in? Who’s your RA?” will float down the third and second floors. There will be bed-making and desk-claiming and complementing, “Nice backpack! Cool camera, do you do photography?”
As students enter the parking lot, there will be a crowd of Student Leaders welcoming them, checking off their names on a list, and seeing them to the next step.
Esther and a whole slew of staff members will tackle the ins and outs of registering students as they obtain signatures and shake hands. Eventually, the student gets a fob to get in and out of the building, their rightful claim on this little brick building in Jackson.
Meanwhile, some parents have already finished moving their kids in, and now are going out for a last family meal. Others have just arrived, and are the last in their dorm to settle in. There will be friendly camaraderie and genuine gladness when all come together, new students and old. Students who came to New Tribes unmarried, now back as an old student married.
There will be curious exchanging of names, and quick glances to see if anyone new here would be a good boyfriend. People will choose seats in the dining hall, and Greg Hobbs will announce what Dish Crew is all about, asking for volunteers to begin the great cleaning process. Dan Falls will guide orientation as the fearless President, and Dalton Dueck will interact with students like you’ve never seen. And hopefully, when the weekend is done, and the academic registration concludes, students have felt loved.
So, to my New Tribes friends and alumni, teachers and deans, enjoy. Enjoy this time to welcome, get settled, and be excited to love on students and parents alike. Enjoy the crowded halls and the chaos of parents and male students carting duffels around. Enjoy the fits of laughter, the screaming friends, and the billion stairs you have to climb.
Because at this time of year, this year, there’s no place I’d rather be than with you all. Enjoy the sweet fellowship of believers, and enjoy the initial picture you get of a student before the Word of God so faithfully matures and grows her. There is no other time of life quite like this, so enjoy.
And know there is a place of solace down the road in downtown Jackson, for when you need tea or a hug or to play Xbox. You are loved.