While I’ll be attending my son’s graduation ceremony in a few hours, in my mind Christopher has already gone through a “graduation” of sorts. Over the past few years he’s taken many small steps, and some big steps, towards gradually becoming a young man anyone might be proud to know.
It’s not been an easy path. But that’s a story for him to tell.
What truly matters is that he’s been considering and examining the next steps in his life, long before his ceremonial graduation on the Sacramento campus of Universal Technical Institute. The ability to look ahead — and appropriately move forward — seems too often shoved aside by young people’s thoughts dwelling on life’s unfairness, a sense of entitlement, laziness, or any combination of these and other
excuses factors. This ability to forge ahead is an essential life skill, one of the most important talents one can hope to have in his or her arsenal and one equally applicable to a person’s professional and personal lives. As a parent, it’s a skill that I’ve always hoped would come easily and early to all of my kids.
An education of sorts, for me, coincided with Christopher’s growth during these years. It’s easy, common and sometimes important for a parent to judge a child’s behavior by their own standards. It can be just as valuable, albeit difficult, to consider how a child is viewed by the outside world. Once parents do, they can find pride in knowing that an employer calls upon their son or daughter to fill in when other employees don’t show up. There’s pride in knowing that a son gets up, works a four- or five-hour shift, then drives the 63 miles to campus for a day’s worth of learning, all on his own. Not to mention that he’s one of the top five students in his current course.
In a few hours we will set aside some time to appreciate Christopher’s accomplishments. Greater than those accomplishments, however, will be the (hopefully always) present ability and the wherewithal to move forward, reaching for that better future. Without looking forward, into many possible futures, it’s likely that my son wouldn’t graduating today.
Good job, and congratulations, Christopher.
Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.” ~ Erma Bombeck