Four Things I Hope My Son Packed for College

This past Tuesday at noon our church began a new ministry to the community: Faith@Work. It was, I believe, a great success made up of business leaders from all parts of the community. Here is an abbreviation of my remarks I shared at the Faith@Work luncheon.

Four Things I hope My Son Packed for College

Now that I have seen my first born off to college I guess that makes me an expert on family transition – well, not really. The most vulnerable part of dropping your child off to college is the feeling that he is not adequately prepared. The truth is, now that they are adults they have to make their own choices. Here are four things I hope my son packed for college and plans to take with him through life:

Hard Work

I grew up where hard work was not just valued; it was essential, yet I was a lazy student for many years. In

Colossians 3:17 we read. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus…

Don’t cut corners; whether you punch a clock or are salaried or a student or a volunteer. Your primary employer is God, to Whom we dedicate all our labors. Even the most menial and mundane of tasks are offerings to God.


No doubt we all consider ourselves to be, by and large, honest folks. Indeed I hope so. We sure need more of it. One of the many reasons we are in the mess we are in regarding the economy is the lack of honesty in the workplace. This may be a bit simplistic, but it doesn’t make it less true.

The Bible reminds us, “let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no…” (James 5:12) When people know that your word is a seal, you spend less time defending, explaining or promoting. It takes much more work to be dishonest over trivial matters than it does to be honest over large affairs.


Related but distinct from honesty is integrity. In nautical usage integrity refers to the seaworthiness of a ship’s hull – to be sound inside and out. Stephen Carter writes that integrity is: “discerning what is right and what is wrong; acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong.”

Adding to that definition of integrity is to be known as a person who is the same at the office, at home, at the ball field and at the church. Your clothes may change from one place to the next, but your character does not. The person sitting at the boardroom table should be the same at the supper table.

Proverbs tells us: “Better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be crooked though rich.” (28:6)


This is a mean world and mean times and sadly we think that the only way to survive is to be mean in return. We hear and use the phrase “dog eat dog” is if it is an irrefutable truth.

There are many ways to define compassion, but the simplest is to simply be willing to share with another in their hurts and also their joys. Nowadays the term compassion is often ridiculed as weak.

Compassion is not about being nice or pleasant. Neither is compassion only for your favorite causes or people. Jesus showed compassion not only to the weak and marginalized but for those who may very well have been against him, like Nicodemus the Pharisee or the scribe who debated Jesus on the most important commandment but walked away admiring Jesus or the one called the “rich, young, ruler,” whom Jesus looked upon and loved.

Colossians 3:12 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

I hope my son packed hard work, honesty, integrity and compassion for college. He is going to need them not only in the classroom but for life. We too need to pack our briefcases, lunchboxes, pocketbooks and laptops with these four things. It will not only make us better people, but it will make for better businesses and therefore better communities.

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