I’ve just finished setting up for my 21st graduation. It looks spectacular! It looks wonderful. Three of those graduations have been for my own children, and eighteen have been for everyone else’s.
I watch these children grow into near-adults from ninth to twelfth grade. I watch them advance from obnoxious and immature to mature and almost-responsible human beings. I see them develop from little children bodies to grown up strong bodies. I personally work with the Student Council and class officers. And I see a huge difference in the groups and cliches in each age level.
I can tell in a heartbeat what kind of home life each student has.
I can tell in a heartbeat what kind of things they have to endure on a daily basis.
And I can almost always guess with alarming accuracy what their future holds.
And then they’re gone — off into the real world!
My youngest and I had a warm, and wonderful and revealing conversation about all of this the other day. She has learned! She finally sees what I want for all girls growing up in this little valley. She finally sees what all the warnings and admonishing and prayers were for. She finally sees what all parents want for their children — to survive high school in one [healthy] piece. To make it through unscathed by hurtful and superficial relationships. To have direction and goals and purpose and esteem and self-value.
Working here for twenty-one years has made me appreciate the parents who are on top of everything. They are involved and they care and they make time. They provide a place for all the kids on the block. They push and encourage and celebrate. I have no doubt they pray and search for wisdom and inspiration. I have no doubt they get very little sleep.
We only had thirty kids in the senior class and of them I have at least 20 favorites. My prayer is that they remember the values of their families and listen to promptings in their hearts. Life is not one big party.
Be careful. Look both directions before crossing. Obey the traffic signs. Don’t text and drive. Learn.
And thank your parents.