Q: Our granddaughter is a high school junior who's academically bright and trying to decide which college she should attend. She's asked for our advice to help her choose.
We can help with her tuition and expenses but don't know what specific advice to offer, because everything has changed so much. How can we answer her?
A: It's such a blessing to have a granddaughter who wants to include you in her decision-making process! Because she's asking you specifically, you should definitely try to provide her with your own perspective.
But first, listen carefully to how she feels about her options.
Because you know her well and are an important part of her life, she believes you will offer her the support she needs. It looks like she trusts your intuition, feelings, speculations and opinion.
It's also natural for her to be a little anxious, as she's about to start a new chapter in her life. Guide her by suggesting a few options that she can work with.
Does she have the grades and finances to apply to her ideal school? What is her plan B in case her first choice doesn't work out? These are questions she should ask before formalizing any plans.
Has she visited any colleges or universities? If possible, taking a trip to schools she's considering could give her a better idea of what she's looking for. Talking to current students or visiting a class can be invaluable tools.
Does she have a dream career? If so, where is the best place for that path? If she's still unsure, starting at a community college is a perfect way to take a breadth of classics and mature a little. She will save money and have the option of potentially transferring.
No matter what, assure her that life is a journey. The road she chooses may lead her to places she's never imagined, and that's a great thing!
We often learn a lot about ourselves when we explore the unknown and the uncertain. — Doug
Q: This is the first year I won't be hosting a Christmas gathering for our family at home with my wife. Unfortunately, she passed in February, and I'm still mourning her.
I've started to process my grief, but it's coming back now with the holidays. What can I do?
A: December is a time of year when people experience emotional extremes, both of happiness and sadness. Try to stay even-keel.
Keeping away from others is a detrimental habit we often do to ourselves when mourning. During this period, resolve to reinforce your connections with others.
Ask your family members what they're doing for Christmas. They are likely remembering her, too, and can share and understand your feelings. The odds are that they'll invite you to join their own plans.
Remind yourself of the reasons you love the holiday. Make sure to engage in your traditions and celebrate the holiday, not shun it.
Happiness is a choice. Reaching out to others will help you maintain your forward trajectory. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com