5 things you learn at graduation

(from a parent’s perspective)

tassle-2012Jenna graduated from high school last Saturday. The ceremony was meaningful and spiritual.

But as the parent, you hear and see from a different perspective than the graduate.

graduation-day1. It’s still a big deal
Many students will continue on to earn bachelor degrees from universities and possibly doctorates and professional certifications.

But receiving a high school diploma is still huge. Completing thirteen years of schooling when kids are so young and inexperienced and raw is an accomplishment deserving to be celebrated.

Many kids do understand this, but parents should even more. We know having or not having a diploma can make a big difference in what they can do next.

So when they get it, applaud.

2. Parents see double
An almost-adult body may stand before you in cap and gown, but parents are seeing a baby with a wet diaper or the little girl singing in the back seat of the car or a child in the awkward middle-school years so recently outgrown.

classmates-graduation

Memories past flood over moments present. And we know there’s more to come. We see it all. That’s a good thing.

3. The rate of time is changing

graduation-table
You think four years of high school go by fast? Four years of college fly even quicker. As a parent of a college graduate as well as a high school one, I know how time picks up speed after high school. And hasn’t slowed down yet (all adults know this).

Freeze the milestone moments when you can, then buckle up because the next trip through time is even faster.

4. The message makes sense
I remember nothing from my high school commencement’s speaker (was it former Alabama congressman Bob Jones?). But I listened closely to my daughter’s speaker. I wanted to know what advice he was giving her, make sure it would be beneficial. And I hope I’ll remember his words, even though Jenna probably won’t.

He advised them not to go out to change the world (that’s a bit lofty, yes?), but to glorify God in what they do in their corner of the world. Because the world will be watching them. Live well, love well, where you are. I’m old enough to understand how hard that message can be, but how valuable it is to try it.

5. The kids’ candy was also for the parents

candy table
Really? I didn’t know until it was too late. The chocolate kisses and Skittles and goldfish weren’t hidden backstage just for the seniors, but for us, too?

Some lessons you learn too late. You realize you messed up as a parent over the past eighteen years. Apologize, adjust what you can, then let it go. Let it be a reminder to pay even closer attention in the years to come.

Then the next time you bump into a candy table, enjoy!

* * *

Have you attended a graduation ceremony this month? Learn anything?

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