by Chris Rolph.

“Start your children off in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6


Working in faith based higher education for 25 years; I have had the opportunity and privilege to meet thousands of students and parents.  In most cases, parents are not ready to let go or they do not feel their child is prepared to go off to college.  Ironically, their son or daughter cannot wait to spread their wings and leave the nest.

One concern that many parents have involves their child’s spiritual maturity.  Many of these parents have raised their children in a Christian home, were actively involved in church, and modeled Christian values.  In some cases, they may have homeschooled or had their child attend a private Christian school yet often they feel their college age son or daughter should have a deeper faith.

Many have embraced the promise of Proverbs 22:6 which says “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

When I have encounter concerned parents, I have told them not to worry!  A faith-based school is the best place their child could be attending.

As one would expect, students will learn a lot in the classroom between their first year and last year of school; generally four (sometime five) years.  Nevertheless, what I truly find fascinating is what students learn outside of the classroom.  This is a dynamic time in a young adult’s life.  They will develop spiritually, mentally, physically, relationally and emotionally.

As a result, they will view their parents much differently after four years.  When these freshman first arrive, many would not describe their parents as wise, as a matter of fact, many student believe they are smarter than their father and mother.

More often than not, it is my observation that graduating students feel that somehow their parents became wiser/smarter during their four years at college but how could this be?  Did their parents become smarter while they are away at college, not exactly!  What really happens is the student actually changes and more often than not they have become wiser.  They have discovered:

  • Life is complicated
  • Relationships can be messy
  • The is world is not always black and white
  • Roommates do not always get along
  • It is difficult to prioritize homework, job, relationships, etc.
  • Juggling your finances is stressful
  • And miraculously dad and mom got wiser

While we know that mom and dad did not really get wiser, we will let these young adults think this happened.

For parents, I offer a few words of encouragement.

First, if you are still raising your children, you may not have seen the spiritual fruits of your labor, nevertheless, keep laying the foundation.  Once your child becomes a young adult, you will see how a solid spiritual upbringing affects every area of their young adult lives.

If you are sending your child off to a faith-based college, be patient, you will see big changes in just a few more years.  Most importantly, pray for your child while they are away at college.  They can still get side tracked even at a faith-based college or university.

Thanks for laying your child’s spiritual foundation and it is my prayer that you will see the fruit of your labor.


Chris Rolph CPA is Vice President for Finance and the Chief Financial
Officer for University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky. He has two
grown sons, took his wife skydiving for their anniversary, and has the
quickest wit of anybody you’ll ever meet. Chris has played a significant
role in the formation and launch of which he continues to
serve and encourage.

1 reply
  1. Jim Rolph
    Jim Rolph says:

    A very good article that I can relate to brother as you know. We are experiencing our oldest son going through these changes. It is interesting to see what values they have embraced under our guidance in their development. I enjoy hearing from our son on his discoveries of how the world works and how individuals who haven’t had the same upbringing relate to these discoveries different than he does.

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