There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes;
the true, where he is free to do what he ought.
Is it me or is there something inherently wrong with dropping your child off at college? And not just because you’re leaving him at an institution. But because that institution is filled with throngs of the people who are of the same age and predilection.
Is this kind of homogeneous grouping ever a good idea? Think of nursing homes. Prisons. The military. North Korea. British cooking. Congress.
As we arrive at my son’s new, sophomore year suite, we find his roommates steeped in the activity of the only Sunday night of the semester without homework.
I fight the urge to say,”You don’t have to stay.” Instead I whisper, “Everything is a choice.”
He whispers back, teasing me: “Like heroin?”
“Yes, like heroin,” I say, “And staying in this dorm.”
As we hug goodbye in the hallway, I suggest that he reconsider the academic dorm, but he lets me know that those students are even more serious about drugs.
I don’t want him to be too serious. I think fun is important. In fact, when we arrived at the top of the stairs with his luggage and I heard the music blaring through the door of his suite, I had a moment of remembering.
I like freedom.
Partying is one way to explore it.
But it can quickly become a destination instead of an avenue.
(Plus, college is an expensive party.)