Dads: Before You Send Your Daughter To College

Of the 3.2 million high school students who graduated in early 2012, about 2.1 million were enrolled in college that October, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the father of a 2013 graduate, it’s normal for you to want your daughter to be one of the 66.2 percent preparing for college.

But she needs more from you than help with tuition, dorms and supplies; she needs to you teach her a few things about life away from home:

Be Independent

Teach your daughter not to depend on men to boost her self-esteem or to take care of all her needs. This may sound harsh, but it’s a fact of life in today’s world. Women have more options for self-improvement and personal fulfillment than ever before. Teach her to take advantage of those opportunities, and you will prepare her for a career that she’s passionate about. Plus, an eventual, healthy marriage is far better than sitting around waiting for some man to sweep her off her feet.

Be a Tough but Fair Self-critic

In today’s society it’s easy to blame parents, partners, the media, genetics, or the government for one’s own shortcomings. Character development begins with an honest assessment of the person in the mirror. No lady should forget that she, like every other human being, is a work in progress and is going to make mistakes, plenty of them, on the road of life.

Practice Safety Precautions

In a digital world, much of your daughter’s college and work life will be connected to and shared on the Web. Remind her to practice safety precautions and teach her how to protect herself. Her identity is a precious possession, as is the personal information that is often shared openly on social media outlets or accidently on unsecured sites. When looking for anti-virus software or identity protection services, it’s good to compare price, reputation, services and user reviews. Some companies such offer extra services like bank account alerts and name/alias monitoring, while others just provide basic protection.

Don’t Confuse the Steak with the Sizzle

In other words, don’t believe what people say unless they can back up their claims with proof. The world is filled with BS artists who will twist the truth, mislead, or just flat-out lie if it will get them what they’re after. The simplest way to expose these con artists is to call their bluffs and demand that they back up their statements with hard-core evidence. This applies to employers, salespeople, suitors, politicians, religious leaders, etc. A little skepticism can save a person endless heartache.

Balance Ambition with Compassion for the Less Fortunate

Even a multi-millionaire with a giant home and fancy cars has no value if they sold their integrity to get them. One of the best ways to keep a healthy perspective in life is to serve others in need of help. Generosity can take countless forms, from lending a caring ear to a troubled friend to raising money for worthy charities. The important thing is to find a way to make the world a better place and give of oneself in the process of helping.

Don’t Let Beauty Pass by Unnoticed

The world is filled with magnificent things that most people scant attention to. Breath-taking sunsets, the glow of countless stars on a clear night, the way the air smells after a gentle shower, and the laughter of happy children on a bright spring day are all worth more than all the money in the world. The little things teach lessons that textbooks can never convey, if people would only take the time to listen. Raise your child to love, protect and listen. Before you know it, she’ll become the beautiful young woman you always knew she would be.

This article was contributed by Jeremy Simmons 
Jeremy teaches auto repair at his local community center and blogs in his free time.