I’m delighted that Focus on the Family has long maintained a robust outreach to the next generation of leaders, FLIlogo1.jpgespecially high school, college and millennials. Our Leadership Institute, which began in 1995, has been mentoring students from both Christian and non-religious universities in significant ways. In addition, our internship program has attracted some of the nation’s best young people. If you have a son or daughter in that age bracket, or you’re on the hunt for an opportunity yourself,  I’d invite you to click here to connect with us.

In the meantime and on a related note, I want to introduce you to Anna Gaudio. She recently completed an Audio and New Media summer internship with us. She’s also a talented graphic artist and writer. The Lord put the following “confession” on her heart and it’s my pleasure to share it with you.

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Confessions of a College Intern

I am spoiled.
Not in the material sense, though I’m sure I have a few too many pairs of shoes in my closet.

I’m spoiled in the sense that I have nurturing, caring, loving parents.AGchild.jpg

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of having a mom and dad who are not only wise and self-sacrificing, but available. In a world of corporate ladders, 24/7 childcare and technological entertainment, my parents have always been more interested in a stable home than a successful career.

But there’s a twist to the story.

If you ask me, the greatest decision my dad ever made, besides committing to Jesus and marrying my mom, was his decision to work from home.

In retrospect, he was a man before his time.  Long before e-commuting was common, my dad began operating as a CPA only fifty feet from the family kitchen.

It was a deliberate decision, a choice he made so that he could stay as close to the family as possible.

I realize that not every career lends itself to working from home, but his did, and he made a choice to make it happen – and make it work.

To be candid, the arrangement wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine. In fact, there were many times when I wished he would spend more time at a traditional office away from home,and less time inserting himself into my day-to-day activities.  Especially in middle school, where my competitive spirit and my dad’s stubbornness often collided, we were less than best of friends. We disagreed about everything from coaching to my techniques to referee calls. Spending more than a few minutes talking about athletics with my dad was like banging my head against a brick wall. I’m sure he’d say the same thing about me.

We’ve also had our embarrassing moments.

I’ll never forget the day my siblings and I arrived home from school and my dad greeted us in a yellow polo tucked into bright red, elastic sweatpants pulled atrociously high and socks with sandals. Without saying a word, we each went to our rooms, including my mom. Part of me thinks he did it on purpose, just to watch our reactions. Luckily, he’s realized the ramifications of his fashion decisions and now chooses more wisely (although, he always has a pair of glasses on his head, in use, and in his shirt pocket).AGcollege.JPG

As often happens, by the time I began searching for colleges, we had overcome our minor differences and called a truce on certain pet peeves. We’ve since become kindred spirits.

Every psychologist, researcher and family expert recognizes the important role that fathers play in families. If the father is a strong spiritual leader, the family is likely to follow. Children raised without fathers tend toward depression, abusive behavior and substance abuse.  For these reasons, I consider myself extremely blessed to have a father who is not only present, but a dad who is constantly pouring out his love in different ways. He always asked about our days, helped us with Calculus homework, attended every school event and was present for family dinners.

Age and maturity have allowed me to better appreciate his dedication to our family. What I used to see as an intrusion in my teenage privacy, I now see as a loving, sacrificial sign of his deep commitment to raising a family.

He is, and I will argue this to the death, the best father on the face of the earth. To my great pride, I’ve even gotten him to use words like “totes,” “perf” and “adorbs.”

It’s true what they say, that the days are long and the years are short.  My childhood passed quickly. I’m in college now, toiling away and having the time of my life.  But I’m away from home now, and I’ll let you in on a little secret:

I sometimes find myself longing to still have my dad working on the other side of the wall.

Anna Gaudio is beginning her senior year at Liberty University this fall. You can reach her at agaudio@liberty.edu.

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