I almost had a heart attack a few weeks ago when both of my sisters informed me that my niece and nephew were graduating on June 20th. I thanked God that one was in the morning and the other was in the evening. I would not have been able to choose between either! Both graduations were full of inspiring quotes and visions of bright futures but there was something missing. After thinking about it over the weekend I knew exactly what it was!
Ari’s graduation was in the morning. She asked me weeks in advance if I would do her makeup. Thursday morning she stood in my bedroom doorway in her PJs just staring at me. If she had a question she didn’t ask, but looking at the clock, 7:43 am, I reminded her that she didn’t have long to get ready. She appeared a half hour later in a beautiful dress purchased at Macy’s but her hair was still not done. “Can you do my makeup now?” she asked. It was 10 minutes before she had to be out the door and I let her know it was not enough time to finish up her hair and do her makeup. Her face broke my heart. No makeup? She convinced me that she could be late for school but then left me standing in the bathroom alone. She’d left without getting it done.
Her mom, had assured me she had gotten all her tears out the day before because she didn’t want to cry the day of her daughter’s graduation. I think it is totally appropriate for parents to get teary eyed at their child’s graduation! Right? I thought she was so cute when she asked me, five minutes after Ari’s class walked out, for a tissue. Water works guys! I’m actually surprised I was not balling. Seeing Ari walk across the stage to get her 8th grade diploma brought me great joy even though I had to fight to get her picture. There has to be a better system so parents can get photos at graduations!
I was better prepared for my nephew’s graduation later that evening. Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends gathered in front of me as I waited patiently for my nephew to come across the stage. I had positioned my settings and my placement to get the perfect shot of him getting his diploma. As he approached the steps, I pushed through the crowd to run to the foot of the stage. I was too close. I played the video anyways and snapped pictures at the same time but I hadn’t adjusted the camera for my new position. I was so upset! Luckily my Samsung Galaxy III allowed me to take pictures after the video was recorded. A feature I didn’t know the phone even had! I played the video back, paused it at good shots and tapped on the picture icon. Voilà! You only get one opportunity to get your photos and I am so happy to have gotten a second chance at getting it right!
Over the weekend I internalized the messages sent out by the keynote speakers during both graduation ceremonies. They were both inspirational as they focused on having the kids remember their accomplishments and how far they had come. They were told how important it was to stay focused in high school as these were the years leading up to college. Bridgeport’s ceremony stated all the new programs coming to the community that were full of promise and hope. Naugatuck’s principal reminded the students that even though they were moving on to high school, they would always have a place at their middle school. What was missing?
If I were added to the list of keynote speakers at a graduation, I would say to keep strong in faith.
We’ve omitted the use of the word God from our public schools. It is to not offend the other religions that make up our student body. Why can’t we learn of all religions in middle school? I took religion in college but I had real world knowledge of it from my friends in school. We were never opposed to each other because of this difference. We loved each other regardless.
It is important, especially at a young age to keep strong in our faith, REGARDLESS of what religion one is. There were many life changing events that occurred for me during my high school years and I know I would have been in a different place mentally if I had used my faith to keep focused and had it as reassurance that everything would be OK. The comfort I have now, in my thirties, is something I needed in my teens. I wish I had someone to tell me that, then. Keep strong in your faith.
…To the young ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2013, it is vital to your mental health to keep God close to you. Get into the habit of talking to Him everyday. There will be times in your young life that you will feel alone. The life choices of others can and will shake you AND your beliefs to your core. You will feel like you have no one to talk to, because you will want to talk. You will feel like no one will understand what is happening in your life. You may be embarrassed to talk about what is going on in your life and feel like there is no one you can trust with your thoughts. I want to tell you today that is NOT so! God is with you ALWAYS. He is there for you to talk to. He knows and understands what you are going through. You need to know that this time will pass. You are not alone. Please stay strong in your faith. …
What advice would you give the graduating class of 2013?