A long time ago (OK not THAT long), I headed off to college far from home. This week I helped my eldest son do the same thing and it got me thinking about how we help our children be brave.

Years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I went to a college fair. There I heard from some Christian colleges far from my home state of Ohio. As one of the admissions officers got up to talk about a college in Minnesota, I sensed God speak a simple sentence to my heart: “This is the one.” I almost cried as deep peace settled on me.

Now, I’d never been to Minnesota. I didn’t know anyone in Minnesota. But this college had the major I was looking for (Mass Communications, Theatre) and had an atmosphere that sounded nice. And so with the absolute faith that God was directing my steps, I headed off to college 15 hours from home.

Fast-forward a few years. (We don’t really need to go into exactly how many, do we?) I packed up our van with so very much stuff and hit the road for an epic road trip to get my son settled 13 ½ hours from home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before visiting this college we’d never been to New Mexico. We don’t know anyone in New Mexico. But this is the school with an excellent film program and a scholarship that qualified him for in-state tuition. And, once again, God spoke to my heart, “This is the one for him.”

I think God knew I needed that. Since my husband died, I’ve grown even closer to this child of mine. He loves to talk. Yeah, he totally gets that from me. The idea of him heading off to a school so very far away takes my breath away sometimes. I’m going to miss our conversations. I’m going to miss hearing about his day. I’m going to miss him.

I have come to realize that had Kraig been here, he would have counterbalanced my anxiety about letting go nicely. I imagine he would have laughed, hiding the few tears threatening to escape his eyes, as we drove away from school this week, leaving Jarod to begin a new adventure far from where he can just pop home for the weekend. I think that’s one reason God gives kids two parents—one to cheer them leaving and one to remind them they are still welcome to come back.

Someone pointed out that Jarod must be really brave to go so far from home and it made me pause. Is he? And, a step further, was I brave when I did it? I did it because I felt absolute peace that this was God’s next step for me so I took it. I hope and pray that’s part of why Jarod is going—because it’s the open door God sent.

When God sends us, we can trust that it’s the right place to be. Always. That’s the key to helping our children be brave–faith in the God who can be trusted.

We often talk about the consequences of our bad choices and how they affect us and the people we love. But sometimes we get to see the fruit of our good choices manifest in our kids. And that is a beautiful thing to see. Perhaps my son is brave, in small part, because he’s seen me being brave. And, perhaps, doing what needs to be done even when it’s hard is just part of who he is. Either way, I’m proud of his bravery.

As I leave him at school and enter a new chapter of being a mom—mom to an adult kid—there will be some tears. No sense denying that. But there will also be peace that if God directs our steps, the choice to be brave and follow is always the right one.

What’s one time you had to help your child be brave? Share in the comments.



  1. Karen Sargent August 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Jenn, I took my baby girl to college three days ago. Although she is less than two hours away, and although I’ve been through this once before, I still feel the anxiety of the separation. I’m praying a special prayer for you and your son–that you will feel God’s love and peace fill the miles between you and make the distance feel smaller–and a special prayer for you as you adjust to another significant life event. — And maybe I can leave you with a smile/grimace since your post is about helping our children not fear, which is what caught my attention. My daughter called and said, “Mom, you’re going to be so proud of me.” She and a friend went to a youth event on campus, a midnight slip ‘n slide. Afterward they were walking back to their dorm and a drunk and belligerent young man approached them. My daughter kept telling him to leave them alone. I don’t know the details, but she put him in a choke hold, hit him in the back of the knees to drop him to the ground, and held him down while her friend called campus police, and kept him there until they arrived to arrest him! Talk about no fear! Oh my goodness! Now a backstory fact is her daddy is a 30-year police officer, but he’s never “trained” her in self-defense or anything officially. She has never been in a physical scuffle, is an introverted artist not an athlete…I just can’t believe she did this! As a mom, I’m not sure what to do with it…smile/grimace? The boy was not even a student, so he shouldn’t have been on campus. But now he has a restraining order against him. I wonder if he woke up yesterday morning and remembered he got beat up by a girl. LOL! I try not to think about the 50 ways this scenario could have gone wrong…

    • Jenn Buell August 23, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Oh my word! That story MADE MY DAY. That’s amazing. Go girl! Even dropping a son off had me thinking about fearful situations so thanks for sharing.