Advice For My Daughter As She Heads Off To College

I knew this day was going to come, and I truly am happy for my daughter as she heads off to college to become her own person.  However, there is some sadness that comes along with this as I will miss just being around her.  She and I had a great moment together last night, and she was the one crying and didn’t want to let me go.  As a father, it doesn’t get much better than that.

I have tried my best to prepare her for life, but knowing I will not always be around, I wrote her a 3 page letter with some last minute fatherly advice. Most of it was just for her, but here is a little I wanted to share:

Life is a series of moments that we stitch together that becomes the tapestry (just like Carol King’s song) of our lives, and if we chose wisely, we create something incredibly beautiful. What kind of father would I be to let you go and not give you a little parting wisdom? So here it goes:

  1. Trust God, and allow Him to guide your steps.  Do not be afraid to let Him take you out of your comfort zone or even alter your path. It is good to chase your dreams, but don’t get so focused on the stuff you want that you can’t see what God has for you, because it is always better than our plans, even though it might not make sense at the time.
  2. Lead with love. You have always done this, and I admire you for your heart for others. You give freely of yourself, and that is an amazing and rare thing.  I know you were concerned about being a push over, and I get there will be times you have to stand up for yourself.  Choose those times wisely, and don’t see serving others or putting their needs before yours as weakness. That is who you are, and trust me, we need more people like you in this world.
  3. Believe in yourself even when no one else does. There will be times where people will try to break you down for their own selfish reasons, but rise above them and do it with hard work and humility.
  4. Finish strong. You should know this one by heart by now.  I have preached this to you for years. Anyone can start something, but greatness is the ability to see it through and finish what was started.  There will be times when something you have to finish might seem small, insignificant, or inconsequential, but if you are going to do it, be the best at it, and finish strong. Remember you are always being watched by people, not only for your career, but also for the way you live out your faith.
  5. Be happy. Choose joy! Every day when we wake up we have a choice as to how our day is going to go. Are we going to let the challenges and negativity of the world consume us or will we choose to be a light?  I don’t always choose joy, so I am reminding you of this because as a father I want better for you as it truly makes your life better. People gravitate to those people who radiate their faith and make them feel better about themselves.  You have that in you, so make sure you choose it every day.  In the long run, you will never regret being kind to people and being generous regardless of what they choose to do with that.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, make sure you CALL YOUR MOTHER! She loves you more than life itself and is so happy for you, but this will be hard for her.  There will be times when you need to call because you need her for something, but don’t forget to call just because you were thinking of her, because there are going to be times when she just needs to hear your little voice say, “I love you.”

I love you forever and always



So that was my letter to her, but what we did not know is she had done the same for us. Here is my wife reading the last little bit through her tears.

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I have two daughters myself. Listening to you on the radio about leaving your daughter at school, the notes exchanged, and watching the video has just made me a mess this morning. I cannot imagine going through that. My girls will always be my babies forever. Thanks for sharing your life experience.

Wow this stirred up the emotions. In 2002 we took our son 2 1/2 hours away to college, 2 weeks after he graduated from high school. I cried half the way home. Fast forward 6 years later and I stood in our driveway and watched him drive away in his packed to the brim pick up to a job 2500 miles away. My heart broke. I knew life as I knew it would never be the same. He is now 3000 miles away, married and making us very proud of him. I still hold the hope that when grandkids come,… Read more »

Oooh! You’re reply just made me a crying mess! Especially when you wrote, “I knew life as I knew it will never be the same.”
This week, my daughter starts her senior year in high school. She is my only child. I’ve raised her alone. I’ve been crying silently all summer knowing that this will be our “last summer” before she graduates from high school and goes off to college next summer.
Thank you for sharing.

Rosa Coval


Bonnie Gano

This is beautiful, my last babe left in 2015. 1 of 5 and it never gets easier. I listen to you every day and love your talks about theatre. My son has been with Red Mtn in Bham, AL. Since 2008. He left again for NY and was just called back (again) to do Dreamgirls in Columbus. We wish her the best and she Will be because of what has been instilled in her and because she knows Him that lives in her. God bless you all and make sure tissues are in every room in the house…..


I was listening to you guys this morning as I dropped my little girl to school. By little, I mean she’s 8 years old and I was dropping her off to school “school”!! I got teary-eyed just watching her go through those doors, even though I’ll be picking her up in a few hours! I can’t imagine the hot mess I’ll be when she goes off to college. I told my husband that if she goes out of state, we’re moving with her or is there such a thing as “home-colleging”!? 🙂


Beautiful! When we dropped our one and only off – I knew she was so much more ready than I was! We left her with a copy of Jesus Calling, and a peace knowing she has a solid relationship with Jesus. Take comfort in that as you move further from being a parent and closing to being a friend.


Wow that was very touching and emotional. I took some of what you wrote to heart. There are a lot of the same words I will be saying when my son Branden goes away to college in September. We have to just believe that we brought them up right to make the right decisions. There will be plenty of obstacles however life is full of choices. Thank you