16 May Counsel As If It Were Your Own Child
While driving over Monarch Pass and reflecting on the last 3 days at the CAFAA Conference in Crested Butte, CO, my co-worker and I came to the realization that it does in fact take a village to raise a child. In our case, it takes the entire K-12 school district as well as the university to educate and graduate the student. There have been a few times throughout my career and life I have caught myself going through the motions and not being engaged with my student. I took for granted my chances of helping that student succeed and missed a terrific opportunity to ask about more than a missing document from our office. I still remember an incident early on in my counseling career that I will never forget. I was regurgitating the same old information to a student and parent about the application process when the parent asked me a simple question, “Did you use the same language and tone with us as you did during your interview to land this job?” I was taken aback. I was shocked, I was hurt. But the parent could not have been more right and their approach to addressing my behavior was ingenious. The parent then asked if we could start again. I apologized and said I would. That was 12 years ago. I have not forgotten that parent’s name or my approach to every counseling appointment. I try to meet the student where they are at and take them where they need to be. That is what I would want people helping my children to do as well. I would want people who interact with my children to treat them as if they were their own. I plan on doing the same. If you forget this, you might be reminded when you drive through your own neighborhood, where the yard signs display “Drive as if your kids live here” messages. Hard not to look at your speedometer after reading that sign, isn’t it? If we want to see more students graduate, then we must counsel as if they are our own child.
Associate Director of Client Services
Office of Financial Aid University of Colorado Boulder
T 303 492 8404