Sunday, June 10, 2007
Introducing the Next Steven Spielberg...
...or not. He'd prefer to be known as the bassist from the next big heavy metal band.
Congratulations, Brendan! You made it through thirteen years of lower education. Now, on to higher ed and that director's chair I know is waiting for you out there (even if it is just directing your latest music video).
And congratulations to all the other high school (and, heck, college, too) graduates out there. Whether you got there top of your class and having won every award known to mankind, or whether you got there by closing your eyes, gritting your teeth and chanting 'only one more year, one more month, one more week, one more day', you got there.
The world is your oyster (be careful of the sand, though, it's a bit gritty in the mouth).
Now -- a word for the moms of the graduates: congratulations! You made it. Whether you made it with a bragging rights list for the next decade, or a sense that this next part of your grad's life has got to be better for them, you made it!
For me, this young man represents my third and final precious child to push through lower ed. It is the end of my days of permission slips and marking school holidays on my calendar.
I have looked forward to this day for a long time (long story, with lots of bitter twists and moments of grace -- I'll spare you). I did not know how it would affect me. I usually post on the 5th of the month, and I had a picture of my son in his gown ready to go on that date. But...he wasn't graduated. And so superstition stayed my typing fingers until today. Which means I can tell you I had tears in my eyes as his Class of 2007 marched into the gymnasium. My throat had a lump.
I watched the pairs of no-longer children march to the front of the crowd as they had practiced all week. I thought of this group of kids when they were in kindergarten and I'd bring cupcakes (you could still do that back then) for birthdays and school parties. I thought of their faces when I volunteered classroom time and there was this quaint system of turning over a cup on the edge of the desk to indicate they needed help. Some kids never turned that cup over, and I'd have to watch for the signs they were struggling and then ask, "Did you want to turn your cup over?" I've forgotten which kids they were now. All I remember are cups on edges of desks and impossibly young faces.
My advice to the new graduates for the future: don't forget to turn your cup over when you need help -- none of us make it on our own in lower ed, in higher ed, or in life. When you're sitting in the audience of parents and grandparents and friends and family and teachers and coaches and fellow students in cap and gown the truth of that shines through even through the tears of pride and joy...and profound relief.
A cheer of joy and hope to all members of the Class of 2007, wherever you are!!