Reflecting on Parenthood and Planning for the Future
Do you find yourself posting memories from the past on social media? Pictures of your kids or loved ones from years back? Google Photos, Instagram, and Facebook have this great way of reminding you of moments from long ago, and from time to time, I will click and look—spending time reflecting on when my kids were younger. The childhood years pass in the blink of an eye. Just like that, the various milestones of crawling, walking, and running have turned into a driver's permit, setting curfews, and conversations about post-high school plans.
If someone had asked me as a young mom about how we were planning for the post-high school years, all I knew then was that it was important to start saving for college. Understanding future time like my child's years of graduation seemed irrelevant. My work at MEFA offers an interesting perspective though, in that we understand that engaging with families based on the ages of their children and their graduation dates is the best way to help them plan for the post-high school years and prepare for education financing. Our emails to families, based on the ages of the children in the families, are centered on the topics that we know families need to be thinking about in that moment in order to prepare for their children's future college years and career.
The Middle School Years
I have one child in middle school right now and what I am realizing is that we are only 6 years away from the college years. Conversations we are having are centered around careers and how interests drive career decisions. What do we like to do? How are the subjects in school applicable to our day-to-day jobs? Why is history important? During these moments, my husband and I always try and focus on the message of being a curious learner. Asking questions and exploring many angles and paths. Our resources at MEFA help families do the same thing, by giving families talking points and tools to help their children learn about themselves and guide those interests toward post-high school paths that fit them best.
The High School Years
On the first day one of my children entered high school, I will never forget what she said when she came home. It went something like this, "I want to go back to middle school. Everyone is so tall and some of the boys have mustaches. The school is so big. I am going to get lost." These comments dissipated over the course of the first week or two, and soon my daughter was coming home and the conversations shifted to looking forward to the next four years and even looking ahead to college. I was not prepared for this. I went back into my MEFA emails and the MEFA website and started to search for topics around what to think about as a parent of a 9th grader. I quickly came upon the Plan sections of mefa.org and our page, How to Prepare for College in High School. I reviewed the material and immediately learned what I needed to be thinking about (graduation requirements and admissions standards) and some helpful success tips.
With all this, the thought I want to leave you with is that from the time our kids are born to the time they venture out and become more and more independent, the various phases of planning for the future are in effect. MEFA's guidance along the way has truly been influential in keeping me in check with what I should be thinking about and how to engage my children with planning for the future.
I also learned that there are so many other influencers along the way such as school counselors, community-based organizations, and our own personal experiences.
Go ahead and explore mefa.org and sign up for our emails. We encourage you to take advantage of all that MEFA has to offer and allow MEFA to be your compass in planning for your child's future.
My Children Then...