Manners Matter: Worried College Dad

Dear Mary Pat,

I’m really worried about my two sons, who just left to begin their freshman and junior year at college. We’ve had dozens and dozens of conversations about the importance of wearing masks and keeping distance in class and on campus. I’ve also reminded them that this is not a typical college experience, so they will have to sacrifice parties and come up with more creative ways to socialize. 

However, I remember what I was like in college – I thought I was invincible, rarely listened to my parents, socialized way too much – and then I totally freak out and panic about how they’re going to stay safe and healthy. What can I do to ensure that they will be all right?


Doting Dad

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Dear Doting Dad,

Your concerns are valid, but if this virus has taught us anything, it’s that we are ultimately not in control. You have done everything you can to equip your sons with information on how best to protect themselves and their classmates. You didn’t mention whether they go to the same school, but I would hope that they would look out for each other regardless and keep in touch electronically at the very least.

The COVID-19 era certainly makes collegiate life more difficult. You don’t have to live in a state of panic, though. This is another parental milestone for you in letting your children leave the nest. You’ve taught them what you can, and now you have to let them go. Keep in touch with them, encourage them and let them use the tools you’ve given them to live on their own.

Good luck,

Mary Pat

Miss Pat was educated at the Finnish Finishing School for Fine Ladies. Eloquent in edifying etiquette, she is fluent in seven languages including the language of love. Mary Pat has generously extended her counsel to you and will answer any and all inquiries. Email Mary Pat at [email protected].