I’m dusting off an oldie to share with you this graduation season. The years have only strengthened and deepened these sentiments.
“With some careful planning, it’s going to be just fine. . . just fine,” I mumble as graduation ceremony and open house invitations lay before me. “We’ll go here, then there, then here.” I put them in the order that will get us to each event within the alloted times. Compared to some past agendas, this plan actually seems quite feasible. With any luck, we should finish with enough energy to get us home.
One of the things I like most about this time of year is graduation. My husband does not share my enthusiasm for graduation time. It’s not that he doesn’t like socializing, it’s just that he could do with a little less scurrying around. As the pile of invitations grows, he just shakes his head, hoping that we will make it through without collapsing. We always do.
Despite the tired feet from traipsing all around the community and the in-need-of-some-Alka-Seltzer stomachs from too much party food, we will arrive home knowing it was worth it. Worth it to see the teenagers we’ve taught in Sunday School, allowed to raid our refrigerator and freezer, cheered at sporting events, applauded at music and drama presentations, hung out with on lazy evenings, and trusted with the care of our own children arrive at this momentous occasion in their lives.
Even if we received fifty invitations, somehow, some way, we would make every effort to attend each celebration. Why? Because every minute spent cheering them, feeding them, and laughing with them has built a relationship that contributed to both our lives and theirs.
We are richer for having spent time with them, for getting to know them. Their presence in our lives and in our home has kept us young in both mind and spirit. And, hopefully, our investment in their lives has influenced them in a positive direction. We wouldn’t miss this special moment in their lives for anything in the world.
We’ve concluded that nothing is more worthwhile or significant than investing time and energy in helping a young person on the journey to becoming a mature, responsible adult. While parents are the major contributors on this jaunt to adulthood, many other adults have opportunities to play significant roles in the molding of a young life.
Even though our children are young–aged 3 1/2 & 9–the list of “significant others” in their lives is quite long. From teachers to coaches, from neighbors to pastors, many people have contributed in a positive way to their journey toward maturity. In fact, if the list keeps growing–and I hope it will–we had better start looking into a much larger refrigerator, a more spacious house, and a ranch-sized yard.
Anyway, as another year of making the rounds of graduation parties approaches, I think about the lives we’ve been fortunate enough to share. I remember the fun times and realize how much we’ll miss them as college and careers take them away from this area. I’m also reminded of the teens we know who will graduate in the years to come. A never-ending supply of future adults.
You too may be wondering how you’ll manage to make it to all those celebrations. My advice—put on your track shoes, plot an itinerary, and get going. Don’t worry if, when you arrive, you look a bit disheveled from all the scurrying about. Most likely those special graduates won’t notice. All they will see are the people who have shared their joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures; who’ve encouraged, supported, and at times corrected them; who have advised them, held them accountable, and prayed for them. They will be happy you’ve come to share their special day. And you’ll be happy for the opportunity you’ve had to share in the shaping of a life.