Current Issue

Parent offers advice for students’ spiritual growth

Many young people experience a crisis of faith while attending college. Once they find themselves on their own, some kids seem to falter when exposed to conflicting value systems and less overall supervision. As parents, we don’t want them to lose their way after we have spent years nurturing their spiritual growth while under our wings. Consider the following suggestions to help students thrive in their spiritual life during their college years:

1. Encourage students to discover ways to stay in communion with God while at school—for example, campus ministry groups that reach out to students. Be willing to assist in exploring the available options.

2. Ask them about the ways they have seen God working in their lives at school—in class, dorms, discussions with professors or among friends. Also help them recall ways God has helped them in the past.

3. Challenge them to pray for more than just success on their exams and papers; remind them to consider the needs of their classmates and professors and pray about these things as well. College can be a great time to get to know God even better.

4. Ask them about the ways their faith has been challenged at school. Reassure them that these things can be a normal part of their growth process and can be used as fuel for their own spiritual fire.

5. Be mindful of your reactions to things students tell you. This is where some of your best listening skills can be extremely helpful. You can influence your student’s thinking through open discussion.

6. Suggest they find a spiritual mentor on campus with whom they can regularly spend time (our son has received great support through his weekly meetings with one of the campus ministry leaders at DU).

7. Speak words of life and blessing over them, trusting that God will be present and active in their lives. Remember that God loves them and try to resist the temptation to worry or be fearful.

8. And, of course, pray, and ask others in your faith community to help you in this vital role.

DU Parents Council member John Kloeckner and his wife, Carol, have been married for more than 25 years. They have five children, including David Kloeckner, who is in his second year in DU’s Pioneer Leadership Program. DU supports students from all faith traditions through its Center for Religious Services.


Comments are closed.