Thursday, September 1, 2011

The College Drop Off

I have a very hard time giving up roles and responsibilities.    Rather than change jobs, I add jobs.

In 1996, I oversaw the CareGroup Center for Quality and Value, the data warehousing and analytic operations of a Boston-based integrated delivery system comprised of Beth Israel Deaconess and 4 other hospitals.   When I became the CIO of CareGroup in 1998, it took me a year to separate myself from the operational responsibilities of the CQV.

In 2000, I oversaw the Harvard Medical School learning management system as Associate Dean of Educational Technology.   When I become the CIO of HMS in 2001, it took me a year to delegate my educational technology role.   Early in my HMS tenure, I was asked to serve as temporary CIO of Harvard Clinical Research Institute (HCRI).  That temporary job lasted a year.

Today, my wife and I spent the day at Tufts, helping our daughter move into her dorm and begin her journey as an independent adult.   In many ways, my job as parent, that began 18 years ago, fundamentally changed today.   It's very hard to let go.

I'll want to hear about my daughter's experiences each day, the decisions she's making, the challenges she's facing, and the successes she's achieving.  I'll want to offer advice, assist when I can, and give her the benefits of my 50 years of experience.

However, all of these activities are the wrong thing to do.   She needs to fly on her own, knowing that we're here when she needs us.

The Deans at Tufts emphasized 3 goals for Tufts undergraduates - develop internal curiosity for learning, be responsible for your own actions, and become an advocate for yourself.  

The only way my daughter will become a mature, experienced, and assertive young woman is to do her best, explore a college world that is much more diverse than her high school experience, and be responsible for her own decisions.

Today, my wife and I became a safety net rather than a guiding force.

Lara has fledged and we have an empty nest.

We shed tears of loss when saying goodbye, followed by tears of joy for her new possibilities.

I may have had a hard time with the CQV, HCRI, and Harvard Medical School, but for Lara, I can morph my parent job so that she that she can thrive in our increasingly complex and confusing world.   My job needs to change, so that she can change.

Lara, we only cried part of the way home.   We're ok.

Now do great things.  The world is your oyster.


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