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Telling Tales: A letter to my college child while home for summer

Becky Andrews and Angel Kane • Updated May 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Dearest child of mine, 

We are thrilled you’re home this summer. However, your dad and I feel for this to be a smooth transition, you should be made aware of a few things. Some are reminders of rules you already know but may have forgotten – or perhaps you may think those rules no longer apply. They do. 

Others are new items your dad, and I thought of while you were off studying to be the next, greatest whatever you want to be. 

1. Work: Oldest doggie dog must have a jobbie job. You are expected to work the entire summer. You are young and healthy, so just like last summer, we want you to work until you’re bone tired. The kind of tired that makes you do the math before spending money on things you think you “need.” 

For example, Jacob doesn’t have time to make lunch before work. “I’ll just grab something at a drive-thru.” Six hours later in the drive-thru line. “Your total is $11.45.” Jacob thinks, “$11.45? I just blew 20 percent of what I made today on a meal.” The following day, Jacob wakes up in time to make lunch.

2. Clean: Clean up after yourself and others. I cannot stress this enough. We want our home to be a safe, comfortable place for you, but we want that for us, too. Empty milk cartons and empty Pop Tart boxes belong in the garbage, not on the kitchen counter. Dirty plates, glasses, forks and spoons belong in the dishwasher, not on your nightstand, on the kitchen counter or under your bed. Because of last summer’s “great spoon exodus” that forced us to purchase a new set of spoons, we are implementing a fine system for missing utensils this summer. All spoons, knives and forks were counted. Before you move back on campus, we will do a final count. You will be charged $5 per missing piece. I know this sounds steep, but dad and I work hard. We’ve decided that implementing a fine system will make you and your friends aware that nothing is free. 

3. Friends. We love your friends, most of them. You are responsible for their behavior when they visit our home, because most of your friends will never admit to leaving the fridge door open or putting an empty ice cream container back in the fridge or leaving the front door wide open in the middle of summer. If they open a window in the middle of summer or if they eat the entire container heavenly hash frozen yogurt that I hid in the back of the freezer, you are responsible for their actions. This is much easier than trying to dust for prints to find the likely culprit. We figure this will make you more aware. 

4. Save: Dad and I love you and we are so proud of you. You’ve made it through your first year in college with good grades and without too many hiccups. Our goal is for you to graduate without student loans, but you must do your part. The reason we make you save 90 percent of your income is because it helps pay for the things you want to do. Improv classes, take-out, skiing over winter break with your roommates, spring break trip, etc. Geez, you have a good life. I hope you realize that. If you forget, we will be here to remind you constantly and at the worst times. Like when you’re complaining that you’ve spent so much time looking at a computer screen studying for finals, I’ll mention that your brother must do the same thing…with one eye. 

Your responsibility is to save the money you work for to spend on the things you want. Dad and I want to keep you from having student loans, we do not want to pay for the party.

5. Plan: I know you have three months at home before the fall semester begins. The time between now and then will fly. If there’s something you want to do this summer, it’s up to you to get it started. 

6. Have fun: I know it seems like we aren’t giving you much time to relax this summer, but if you follow our advice and plan – see No. 5 – you’ll have plenty of time to have fun, spend time with your friends and family, rest, go on a few road trips and appreciate the freedom college life brings. 

We love you very much,

Mom and Dad

Comments? You can email Becky Andrews at [email protected] Andrews and Angel Kane are the brains behind Telling Tales, a weekly column in The Democrat.

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