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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:51 AM, by Joan Hastings Kreiger
Joan's daughters Alana (left), Kappa Delta, and Dara (right), Kappa Kappa Gamma.
For so many of us, pledging Theta "back in the day" was one of the best decisions we've ever made: we made lifetime friends, experienced leadership opportunities we didn't know existed, and even used our Theta connections to help us acclimate to new and wondrous places across the globe (was it just me, or was anyone else impressed with the blog post by Julia Swayngim Martinez about her recent move to Dubai?)

So it's natural that we'd be excited to think that as our daughters entered college, they could follow in our Theta footsteps. In recent years, we may have closely watched our friends' daughter's recruitment stories on Facebook, with anticipation and excitement, and responded with "Congratulations!" when we saw the good news that another legacy had pledged Theta. Some of us even imagined surprising our own daughters for their initiation into our sisterhood, passing down our treasured badge and welcoming her to all things black and gold.

But for some of us, when our daughters called with the news that they'd found the right fit (and it didn't happen to be with a kite or pansies), we may have found ourselves disappointed, sad, shocked, or even disillusioned with the Greek system in general, or Theta in particular. How could my beautiful daughter not be a Theta?

When my daughter began recruitment, I gave her all of the motherly advice anyone would give: enjoy the process, be true to yourself, follow your heart (translation: pledge your legacy). But as recruitment continued, it became clear that it was more important for me to support her in her decision than it was to have her live my dream. The 'legacy' that I want for her is one that she can experience with any group of letters of her T-shirt, and I'm forever thankful that I had the foresight to know that.

Allowing her to experience the special gift of Greek life was more important to me than which chapter she chose. When she texted me her first photo with her bid card for Kappa Kappa Gamma, I was proud of her and delighted that she found her fit. "Kite and Key!" was my swift response back to her (along with a few love emoticons), and the clear message that I was ecstatic that she could create her own legacy of experiences.

A year later, while at a Theta conference, my next daughter called me at midnight (really, you can't make this stuff up!) to say she'd been offered a bid as a charter member of Kappa Delta, I was once again proud of my ever-expanding Panhellenic Family!

To know that my daughters are part of the bigger picture of Greek life is an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and pride. We share the legacy of sorority and what that means as college women. We can enjoy the common purpose of living a life of values and friendship, and can unite in our promise to be the very best that our sisterhood embodies.

If you are struggling with this or feel deflated, I hope that you'll be kinder to yourself and know that the Panhellenic experience, while perhaps different than what we might have imagined for our daughters, is every bit as wonderful and special as our Theta experience. Bask in the celebrations that the Panhellenic opportunity provides for all our college women, and know that we're already good role models for our daughters, as they see us living the Greek experience.

So, when my youngest daughter starts college next fall, I know she'll go through recruitment with the knowledge and belief that she's entering an amazing experience—with the full support of her Panhellenic family behind her.

Joan Hastings Kreiger, Chi/Syracuse, is ritual committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity and a charter Theta Life Loyal member. She is also the proud mother of Dara (KKG) and Alana (KD).

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