I am not sure why people are opposed…

Everyone has their own opinions about where Andrew should go to college. I will let them take their own stance. Ben and I have let him choose for himself. This is HIS choice, not ours. We knew could influence him, but the decision needed to be his in the end. So we let him go through the process of deciding on his own.

What an experience this has been. Positive for him. Not so positive for us necessarily. I do not want to say that it has been completely negative for us. It has not. We have had a positive experience going through this with our son. We have had not so positive experiences with those around us who do not fully understand what it is like to let a child grow up and become an adult. Oh how I wish I could let them see how they are hindering more than they are helping their children.

I think more than anything we have grown as much as Andrew has grown throughout this process. The reality is that Andrew is growing up and we are going to have to let him go. We are going to have to let go of those apron strings. That day to let loose our grip as his parents and see how well we have done our job is coming sooner rather than later. It will be here before we know it. The decisions that Andrew started making this past fall (probably the spring before that), are crucial in his future and continual growth.

He gets to stretch his wings out and see just how far he can fly and how well. Not only can he fly, but we as parents can see how well he has been prepared to make adult decisions. What better way to start than to let him take the lead in making some of the choices that will impact the rest of his life. These are decisions that have lasting consequences on him. They are his to make. He has to live with the results of these choices and he has to learn to make good choices (or bad ones) and live with the consequences (good or bad) of his choices. The choices he would make will be life altering good or bad.

Unfortunately, many people around us did not feel that way. They felt that we as parents should not be allowing a teenager to make the decisions that he was making. That we should have been encouraging him to make wiser decisions or different decisions. That we should have been making a stronger influence for him to have a preference of one choice over another. We should not have stayed choice neutral in the process.

Choice neutral is how we stayed. I did not care if my child picked BYU, Trinity University, or the University of North Texas. I wanted him to pick what was best for him based on what he wanted to do for the rest of his life, based on his future career goals. He needed to learn to navigate the spreadsheets of courses required, courses completed with high school credit, and what would benefit him most in the end. He needed to face the harsh realities of what a college education cost in the end.

These same people paid no attention to this child in front of them, nor us as parents, who might actually know what they were doing. They just had their opinions and their opinion was the only one that mattered. We were considered to be failing our child in some way because we were allowing him to even consider choosing a school that was “inferior” to one that they would choose (or went to). The catch? They were not doing it to every child going off to college at church, just our child. For some reason, we became the attack of their superiority complex for whatever reason they felt necessary.

They never did the research. They never visited the campuses. They never asked the child why or how. They simply felt the need to degrade us as parents and demean our ability to parent – to let us help our child continue to grow from this point forward.

Here is the catch…

Their superior choice of career?

Anything not related to music. Anything not related to education. Anything was better than what my son chose.

Now I do not know about the rest of you, but the last time I checked, education was a fine and noble profession and always in demand. I know some of you are hemming and hawing and you can just go hem and haw over in the corner by yourselves. At least he didn’t say he wanted to be a male prostitute or something. He picked a profession that through divine inspiration he was advised to follow.

As far as music is concerned, people hear the word music and they shut down and roll their eyes. I have gotten to the point that I just want to smack their eyes back where they belong in their face. They glaze over the education word after music – music education. It is a fine and noble career path. It is a field that has influenced my son and I cannot sing high enough praises for the music educators in his life – public school instructors and private instructors. They have encouraged him to do hard things and become better. Music and music instructors have more influence over students that people realize. 

Their superior school? 


What did it have to offer my child? It did not admit my child to the music school. It offered him pocket change in the way of scholarships. It basically spit in his face when it compared to the other schools. Did they really want him at that school? No, not really.

It might be a fine institution, but when you remove the religious aspects from the institution, it is just that another university when at the end of the day it is just another college degree. Great music school? Sure. Cheap education? Sure. Cheap is all relative we have come to learn. It is all in the eye of the beholder.

When compared to equally qualified institutions, BYU began to pale fairly quickly. It couldn’t compete with the scholarships. It couldn’t compete with the travel expenses. It couldn’t compete with the fact that one school admitted him to the music school and the other put him on a waiting list. Most importantly, however, the cost of education…BYU simply would not compete dollar for dollar once the scholarships started to roll in.

Most importantly, however, Andrew had to listen to that divine inspiration that he was receiving. His mother was receiving it too and I knew without any doubt what the choice was leaning toward as he went through this process. I just knew with certainty that when we toured the BYU campus, it was not the place for my son at least not right now. Andrew received similar promptings and I am grateful he has learned to listen to those promptings from that still, small voice. I had to keep these impressions to myself because this had to be his choice. He had to make that decision for himself.

We toured Trinity University again. I knew in my heart that it was not the place for him. It was a fine institution and it would challenge him academically, but it was not where he needed to be spiritually. That was hard for me to grasp at as a parent. Still I had to keep this impression to myself. He had to decide for himself.

Then we took one more trip back to the University of North Texas. This time he went to interview for a final scholarship. It was just right. It felt so right. I knew then where my son was going to school. He had made his decision. It was right and we both knew it.

It was on this last trip to UNT that I discovered some interesting things about the University of North Texas that put my mind at ease about the university. He will be just fine where he is. It is a fine university. BYU is not superior. The church provides us other opportunities to grow in other areas or the country and world for a reason.

  1. There are roughly 18-19 professors on campus that are LDS. That is a fair number for a non-religious based campus.
  2. One that Andrew shared with me…the organ professor has Mormon Tabernacle Choir and organ related stuff on the door to his office. 
  3. The LDS Institute Building is across the street from campus near many of the buildings that Andrew will be taking classes in.
  4. The LDS Institute Building holds classes 6 days per week and has social activities for the students throughout the week including Taco Wednesday. 
  5. The LDS Institute Building holds a devotional (similar to the BYU devotional) on Friday.
  6. The LDS Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward population in the area is between 130-180 members depending on the semester. That is a fair number. They meet in the Stake Center about 4-5 miles away because they do not fit in the building closer to campus.
  7. Then there is this article “LDS President of the University of North Texas Retires” [https://www.lds.org/church/news/lds-president-of-the-university-of-north-texas-retires]. There has been a prominent LDS influence on campus. You do not have to be a religious institution to be influenced by positive and good morals. 

I am happy with my son’s choice. The naysayers can go find someone else to pick on. We are 100% behind our son’s decision. He will be attending the University of North Texas in the fall and we could not be happier. 

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