Yes, you heard me. I dare you.
These three simple words could be packed with so much meaning, depending on who says them and the intention behind the words. In the simplest of terms, “I dare you” is a declarative statement encouraging someone to step outside their comfort zone. As I thought about it, I realized that August should be declared the “month of daring.” This is the month when hundreds of thousands of parents are preparing for the day they’ve both looked forward to and dreaded for many years. The day when they drop their son or daughter off at college and drive away. Both student and parent are going to struggle with this new reality.
So, I’d like to say to all the parents out there; I Dare You to be brave. Step outside your comfort zone and use this opportunity to help your kids make the most of their college adventure. Sure, it’s easy to take them shopping at Ikea and Target for dorm supplies — but choosing the right comforter is not the big battle for these kids. The hardest part, and I know this from experience, will be late at night of the third of fourth day when the excitement of the new campus begins to fade and the reality of being on their own for weeks and months at a time begins to set in. It’s when they can’t sleep, and the doubts begin to creep in, challenging their confidence that they can hack it.
I went through it. I have two sons who went through it. And I can tell you the single most impactful thing I was able to do for them, was creating a simple token for them to hold onto and keep. There is minimal effort, but the gesture lasts a lifetime and means an awful lot to the college-bound student who receives this small token of your love.
The gift I gave both my sons on the very first day they moved into their dorm room was a small pocket sized “field note” book. Inside the book, was a simple message from me, daring my sons to take full advantage of the experience. To embrace the challenge and dare to risk a lot and push past the fear. I encouraged them to tuck the book away somewhere and turn to it when they felt nervous, or uncertain, or when they might not be able to last another day. The rest of the pages of the book had quotes on them. Words of wisdom from Dr. Suess, or the Dali Llama, or Teddy Roosevelt — and even me. I even included some silly quotes from movies they liked.
The ‘I Dare You’ Box!
The idea was simple. Give them a tangible piece of security. A life-line from home that we were confident they could accomplish anything they wanted to accomplish. A tangible example that mom and dad had faith in them, even when they might not have that much faith of their own. It works because you are hand writing the messages, in words you both appreciate.
I promise you it will work wonders for both the student and parent. My oldest son graduated from college more than two years ago and he mentioned his book just the other day during a phone conversation. My youngest son, who graduated just months ago, and recently made the long road-trip home with his dad from New York — mentioned the book, unsolicited, somewhere on the Ohio turnpike as being a big help when he needed it. Wow. That’s gold for a parent of a 21-year-old son.
So, it occurred to me over the weekend that the best way I could help others who are preparing to head off to college is to share this idea and make it easy to re-create with a special “Dare Mighty Things” box. I’m calling it the ‘I dare you’ box, and inside will be:
• A signed copy of my book Dare Mighty Things: A Field Guide for Millennials
• A special t-shirt with “I Dare You” on the front
• A limited edition Dare Mighty Things desk quote of T. Roosevelt’s famous speech
• A “field notebook” for you to create a special message for your student.
I’m pulling all the elements together now, but hope you can take advantage of this. I’m working out the details and costs, but I’m sure it will be less than $50 and could really be priceless for your relationship with your student.
If you’re interested, go here and sign up. I dare you.