Common Ground: Home from college to learn things

Last fall, my husband’s eldest son moved out of our home and into a college dorm.

A couple of days ago, he finished his last final exam and moved back in with us — unloading everything into his old room and in the hallway. Small kitchen appliances, a flat screen television, a video game system, several suitcases and a rack of sneakers had all come home.

Needless to say, our family dynamics will change a bit this summer.

He is no longer a child and has been away for the past nine months, taking on new freedoms and responsibilities.

I asked my husband what rules we should enforce now that he has completed his first year of college? For starters, he must tell us where he is going and when. Also, house chores and yard mowing will remain in effect.

He’s got a household of siblings to contend with as well, including his 11- and 7-year-old sisters.

But it’s my 9-year-old son who is going to follow him around, challenge him to karate matches, sing obnoxious songs at his door in the morning to awaken him and attempt sneaking into his room to play some of those XBox games that I don’t allow him to play.

That said, my stepson is probably looking forward to starting his first, full-time summer job/internship next month.

His laid-back, take-it-easy, last-minute habits are soon going to be tested in the real work world.

My stepson views the internship as just a chance to make money. But my husband and I know that those full-time days are going to be an eye-opener for his son. It will give him a chance to grow up and experience the working world among seasoned professionals.

His father will be among his supervisors, too.

I am glad. His dad is often the “go-to” person that folks rely on when lab equipment fails at the plant.

My husband’s son, on the other hand, shies away from “fix-it” situations. If something is broken in our home, he throws his hands in the air or mutters, “I don’t know how to fix that.”

This summer, he’s going to learn how to develop patience and work through situations to find solutions and solve problems, his dad told me.

My first summer internship working for a small newspaper gave me an opportunity to move out of my parents’ house and learn to make a living and pay my own housing and car bills.

I learned to wake up on time for work, grocery shop on a budget and save money.

Those are things a college campus cannot teach teens. Summer work teaches them responsibility and time management and gives them a chance to earn money.

I think my husband’s son is going to do a lot of growing up this summer.

Chante Dionne Warren is a freelance writer. She can be reached at chantewriter@hotmail.com.