Occasionally, when Meredith is preparing an email response to a question, she asks if she can read the letter to me (Joy) for my input. This particular letter below that Meredith recently sent to a friend had such remarkable insight that I asked if I might share it publicly. The perspective, as presented by a 21 year old, is an accurate summation of the "single focus season" in which so many young adults enter. It would behoove us as parents to carefully ponder what might be sacrificed during the years our children spend with an intense, single focus as it possibly might inhibit our children from cultivating their varied, well-balanced, abilities.
I've given a lot of thought to your college question over the last few days. My first thought is to definitely seek the Lord on this matter! I'm sure you are already doing that. He will be faithful to guide you and make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Secondly, I have been admonished time and time again by several newlywed friends to enjoy these years with my family. While they love being married, they greatly miss their families. Because of this, I strive to treasure my time at home with my family NOW instead of always being sooo very eager for my own husband and family. Whether you leave for college or not, you're in the final stretch with your family the way it is today. As you noted, your siblings will likely pursue college, careers, and/or marriage within the next few years, so it is so important to treasure the days you have together.
My third thought is the most lengthy, but it is what has mostly been on my mind. It is not so much related to you trading four years with your family for a music degree as it is to spending four years away with one focus, (emphasis added) so I hope you don't mind me taking the liberty to share...
When I think of you, I think of someone who is extremely well-rounded. You have a great interest and wealth of knowledge in caring for your goats and other animals. You have an interest in making a profit from your goats' milk. You pursued horse riding lessons and initiated cleaning your horse riding instructor's house in exchange for free lessons. You are a very gifted writer and poet. You are a talented singer. You have invested years and years into becoming a superb pianist. You are obviously on your way to becoming a good voice teacher. You also enjoy gardening and cooking and being hospitable.
To me, It seems like it would be so sad for you to have to take four years to focus on primarily only *one* thing! If you choose to pursue a scholarship for college, you would graduate in four years with extensive knowledge and experience in the realm of music, but at the cost of shutting down most of your other interests (at least for a few years).
Granted, I do not have the same appreciation for music or pursuing a degree in music like you do, so I can only relate with my love and interest in real estate. If, at 17 or 18, I would have moved in with the most successful real estate salesperson I know-- a woman who does millions and millions of dollars in sales every year-- and spent the following four years "shadowing" her, I would have a wealth of knowledge, four years of hands-on experience, and confidence when I'm selling properties. I would probably have a whole lot more money in my bank account and I would be well prepared to venture on to exciting new endeavors in real estate.
But I wouldn't have much experience working with my family. I would barely know Sheridan. I would have very limited (if any!) experience in bushhogging lots for our tractor service, bookkeeping, selling peanut gift boxes, gutting chickens, milking cows, cooking meals for eight people, the list could go on and on. Personally, for the calling in which I most desire to pursue (a wife and mother), I feel the past four years-- as diverse as they have been-- have prepared me for that so much better than spending four years with the primary goal and focus of pursuing real estate. (emphasis added)
I look forward to seeing how the Lord leads you! I will be in full support of whichever choice you make because I have confidence in your close walk with the Lord and I know He will guide you, whether He leads you to stay home or to go to school.