On Monday, I blogged about preparing students for their trip back home this summer – and especially for their experience with their families.

But the reason this idea can sound almost out of place is that it’s easy for college students to put family “out of sight, out of mind.” Even if students see their families often (or live with them still), it’s a new era of independence and “adult-ness.” So while “getting along with parents” or even “being a good family member” may have come up in youth group, it’s less likely to be a question for students now – especially when students have so many new things to think about.

And if college students have let family go “out of mind,” then college ministries aren’t likely to focus on it because it’s not a “felt need.”

But if that’s the case for your students, then this is one place where felt needs and real needs conflict. Students don’t just need to be good family members in the summer. And many of them have unresolved hurts or hang-ups around family… stuff that they’ll have to work through later, if you’re not encouraging them to think about it now. Even the students with great family situations need that sector of their life to grow, right along with all the other ways they’re growing. For most of your students, family is still a big part of their lives. So are we shepherding here as completely as we shepherd about dating, or living out their faith on campus?