We all have defining moments in our lives that help shape our future as well as our memories. Some happen by chance, but others are an eagerly anticipated part of life. Graduation from high school, graduation from college, first apartment, first real job, marriage, and child birth, to name a few. Pinkerton Academy holds its graduation on June 12, and Londonderry High School’s ceremonies are on June 9, sending a multitude of students into the next phase of their lives.
Graduation is an ending, no question, but its other name, commencement, perhaps says it better to look at it as a remarkable beginning, the next chapter. From a parent’s perspective, graduation is an in-your-face reminder of the passage of time. The trusting eyes of a newborn and the small hand held on the first day of school now belong to a young adult, likely taller than his or her parents, soon to wear a cap and gown and walk confidently across the Verizon Arena stage to accept a high school diploma.
We rarely see ourselves getting older until something momentous happens; there’s no denying that hearing the name of your child announced as a member of the graduating class is one such occasion. For the graduates themselves, this moment marks the end of “childhood.” While they may never have it so good again, the graduates are now officially on the path to building lives of their own, whether the next step involves college, work, travel, or military service. They’re responsible for their own decisions and for what the rest of their life becomes.
On a small scale, that may mean preparing their own meals and getting somewhere on time. But on the grand scale, it translates to setting goals and developing a path to achieve them, then stepping out onto that path.
It’s exciting – and it’s serious business. The life we make for ourselves is the only one we’ll have. For both parents and students, graduation is a rite of passage. That’s what all the robes and decorations and parties signify. It marks a transition again for both student and parent to the rest of life. Not much is more exciting or scary than that.
Our advice to the graduates? Consider where you want to go, literally and metaphorically, as well as where you’ve been. Think of what has brought you to this wonderful occasion. Be safe. Be bold. Mistakes are inevitable. But don’t be afraid to take that leap into your dreams.
Congratulations to both parents and students, and the best of wishes for what lies ahead.