By Frances George
New semester! New start! New opportunities!
As you and your student consider the college choice for next fall, consider this truth: College is full of so much joy, so much laughter and so much fun and yet life, even in college, has its share of sorrow and disappointment. And when those hard moments come in our students’ lives, believe me, there is no place you’d rather have your student than at a university that navigates well those rough waters alongside your student. And that is found at this place called Baylor.
My Baylor daughters, Class of ’16 (second Baylor degree Class of ’18) and my current Baylor daughter, Class of ‘20, all have experienced their share of extreme joy and excruciating disappointment, while in college, one example as recently as this week. And with our children’s sorrow, comes our own agony as parents, watching our beloveds walk through these rough places in life. We are sad when they are sad, despite how much we say it all works for good. We know that it is true, but our frail, human hearts ache for our sons and daughters.
Just this morning, I was talking with several mothers regarding new semester hopes and disappointments and offered perspective. The Baylor Family is real (and yes, it includes mothers and dads, not just students!) and distance is not a factor, as one might think. I can encourage a mother in Los Angeles, California while I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina about our treasures in Texas! That’s what the Baylor Family does. We rejoice together and we walk through trials together. So, file this blog away for that day that, I promise, will come during the college years. “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” To our students, it may seem like a deluge and a flood. We are here to remind them of the truth below. And the great thing is this, at Baylor, the faculty and administration are there too, standing in the gap with our students.
It is one of the things Baylor does best. They stand at the ready, walking, counseling, and encouraging our students in a way that feels like home. I know. I’ve talked to one shining example of that kind of Baylor faculty just today.
So, the advice… Our crosses, make us beautiful. The scars of difficulty that mark our students’ paths in college serve a greater purpose. Whether it is the disappointment of a grade that wasn’t what you had hoped, was in fact, a nightmarish result, or a heart suddenly broken without warning by a young man or young woman, an internship that you thought for sure was going to be a reality that went to someone else, or a recruitment outcome that left you wondering, “Why?”, college is a microcosm of life at sea with its sunny, smooth sailing but yes, also with its storms. And yet, at Baylor, the microcosm comes with an amazing lifeboat – friends and faculty who are standing with you and will be there when the storms come.
As I wrote to a mother and to my own daughter who suffered a disappointment recently…
“These difficult moments make our daughters more refined, less “young”, more dignified young women of God. It teaches them to walk more circumspectly through life and carefully, as they now understand a modicum of what pain looks like and how badly it can hurt. But pain grows them. And because they love Christ, it makes them wiser and reminds them that our home is not here. And they see others more tenderly when they are hurting because they can easily recall their own pain. Our treasures aren’t in a perfectly ordered outcome. It is, oddly, the scars we bear from our cross that make us more beautiful. And yes, more confident. God’s economy works that way. It seems upside down but it isn’t. God uses all of our crosses… but it doesn’t mean the cross doesn’t hurt and that the cross isn’t heavy. It is dreadfully painful and at times we may feel we will collapse under the weight of it. But He will redeem it. To the world, disappointment is the end. To us, the path is the destination, with all its pain and all its joy. Eyes on Jesus. Mind of Christ. Result: Beautiful young women of God used on this campus.”
How do I know this to be true? I’ve seen in in both of my daughters’ lives. Shaping, molding, beautiful in the Father’s eyes and in mine as well, even through the tears.
These lessons shape our students into amazing adults. At Baylor, this eternal perspective permeates all that Baylor is. In joy… it’s the happy Baylor difference. In sorrow, the Baylor difference shines brightly from the faculty and the caliber of students on our campus that help steer ships through storms. But the real treasure is the brilliant gem that is discovered, polished and illuminated within our children’s own heart as they grow into adults who will make a difference on their campus and in their world. And you know, that is our ultimate goal; to teach them life. And Life is found at Baylor. Remember this.
Yes, it is, as I always say, The Baylor Difference.