The forum, titled “Go Away (But Not Too Soon): Anticipating and Preparing for the Empty Nest and Your Daughter’s Success in College,” was attended by over 20 mothers of current Marymount students.
Ms. Landry began the conversation by noting that while most adolescents form their identity in high school, their brains continue to develop in college and move from black and white thinking to complex analysis.
“College is not about what kind of person your daughter is going to be in life – that has already been established at Marymount, in your families, and in social organizations whether they are religious or otherwise,” said Ms. Landry.
Prior to her headship at Marymount, Ms. Landry spent 25 years in higher education at Georgetown University, the University of Minnesota, and Harvard University. At Harvard, she served as chaplain for 11 years and president of the United Ministry, an organization that represents world religions. She received her Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, and her Merrill Fellowship from Harvard Divinity School. She is currently working on her book on the importance of adolescent spirituality.
Ms. Landry said parents today face new challenges when preparing for the changes their child will experience while simultaneously navigating the effects in their own life and home.
“For you, the empty nest is very different than it was from 10 years ago when kids went off to college and parents immediately made an office out of her old bedroom,” she said. “Care continues longer now because of the ongoing work parents do, and you will feel the empty nest in a different way.”
Ms. Landry said that parents who best traverse this new family dynamic make room in their minds and lives for the changes their children undergo in college and beyond.
“Families who navigate this well are immersed in communities, talking to other moms, sharing this great time for revival, whether it’s in your own lives or with younger siblings, who will also feel a huge loss,” she said.
Ms. Landry recommends the following resources to prepare for the empty nest:
Ms. Landry launched Marymount’s Thought Talk series in December in an effort to open dialogue and share perspectives between herself and parents in a direct and dynamic environment. Intentional in format, each event will be limited in space so parents can have candid conversations about relevant topics with Ms. Landry.