FEATURE — It’s graduation season. Preschool. Kindergarten. Elementary School. Middle School. High School. College. Graduations of all sorts and sizes; of all kinds of importance. Caps and gowns; flower leis and honor cords; air horns and awkward expressions of love.
Preschool has been my very favorite of all the graduations so far. And not just because kids are ridiculously cute at that age. Which they are. But also because there is a tremendous amount of growth and learning that happens in preschool. It should be celebrated.
Kids graduating preschool have presumably learned important lessons that will serve them – and the rest of us – well. They’ve learned how to share, how to resist hitting and biting people who make them mad, how to wash their hands regularly, how to clean-up their messes and how to use scissors, glue sticks, and also glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.
I mean, when all else fails, glitter.
This year, the graduation season at our house is marking an equally astounding period of growth, although with substantially less glitter: high school graduation. And it just might be my new favorite (and not just because glitter is so hard to clean up).
In the last fourteen years, the preschooler before me has grown from a boy who didn’t know how to read, write, or tie his shoes to a young man who drives, writes argumentative essays, solves Calculus problems, holds a job, feeds himself (if ramen, Cheez-its and Pop-Tarts count as food), and plans camping trips to the west desert with his friends.
He flies on airplanes to other countries by himself, sends thank you notes to his grandmother (with only a little reminding from his mother), and has a healthy relationship with a darling girl he’s been dating for almost a year.
He also does his own laundry, regularly tells his mother he loves her, and generally finishes what he starts – even if he might finish it on the last day before the deadline and drive his mother slightly crazy.
It’s all quite amazing. So amazing, it mostly takes the sting out of the fact that I seem to be on my way to doing what I’d always aimed to do as his mom: parent myself out of a job.
But we’re not quite there yet. There is surely a little parenting left to do, even though he’s officially an “adult.” Or, better yet, some advice left to give. It is graduation season after all.
Graduations are not only chock full of growth, but they are also chock full of someone older and wiser offering advice. Sometimes in the form of a graduation speaker, and other times in a congratulatory card from a loved family member.
The advice given to preschool graduates is always very practical, like “don’t run with scissors,” “listen to your parents” and “gum belongs in your mouth – not in your hands and definitely not in your neighbor’s hair.”
This mom thinks advice to high schoolers should be equally as practical.
So, here it goes – a few last words of wisdom to help my son (and any other graduate) as he navigates things from here:
- Everything you need, including God, is already inside you.
- Your parents will always love you
- Use sunscreen and don’t get hurt doing dumb stuff
- Choose friends who uplift and inspire you
- Be thoughtful about everything you put into your body
- Stay close to your brothers
- Choose happiness over money every time
- Avoid debt, cults and Facebook
- Assume the best in people
- Life gets better
If you have any questions, text your dad or call your mom (especially on her birthday).
Oh, and all that preschool advice still applies.
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