It’s graduation season once again and this year there is a bit of a twist because my oldest son Dylan is one of those graduates. All I can think is “How has this happened? I’m too young to have a high school graduate? What the heck is going on here?”
Those of you that have already experienced this event understand the range of emotions associated with sending your young adult off into the world to seek their fame and fortune. There really no way to describe exactly how it feels as one minute your proud and excited, the next you are fearful and worried.
Have I done enough to prepare this my son for what is coming? What will he be like after a few years away from the nest? Will he even like his old man once he goes out to discover his life and his own passions? Will he meet someone special? Will he encounter a coach or a mentor that speaks to his soul and guides him towards his own path?
These questions and so many more keep me awake at night as I sort through all the different outcomes and their natural conclusions.
Today is seems as though any high school graduate has so many options, and choices that I never could have dreamed of at that age. The world has become so small over the past few decades- ever-connected and ever-changing.
I remember my own high school graduation and that feeling of wanting to go out and conquer the world, create my small mark, and somehow make a difference. I also remember not really having a clue as how to get there.
Part of me wants to sit my son down and share with him every possible option and obstacle as well as ways to navigate through them. Yet the other part of me remembers how I would have received that same conversation from my parents when I was 18. I already knew everything and no one was going to tell me what to do or how to do it. The paths were mine to choose and the mistakes were still mine to make.
It’s a right of passage when you are 18. You’re not old enough yet to look behind you and gain much wisdom and still too young to know enough about yourself and who you really are in the world, let alone what you plan to accomplish.
I’m doing my best to instill in my son a sense of having a purpose and a goal. Some sort of compass that allows you to forge through these years of exploration and excitement, yet still feel as though you are moving forward towards something.
I know it’s not the goal that matters in the end, it’s the lessons learned and the doors that open as we move towards those destinations that create the meaningful events in our lives and forge the paths we all travel. I can only hope that as those lessons present themselves that he’s paying attention to them, not letting them slip away into the oblivion of the years gone by that later lead to the island of regret.
Like any parent I will continue to love and support my son as he begins his journey and create a safe space in his life to give him the confidence to go out there and make some mistakes, find a true calling and ultimately make his way.
Like that song goes by Rascal Flats:
My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to.
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
and you’ll never need to carry more than you can hold
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to
I hope you know somebody loves you
And wants the same things too- this is my wish.
Congratulations and Good Luck to all of the class of 2017
Thoughts for the Week to Honor Our 2017 Graduates:
As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store- bought map and begin to draw your own. – Michael Dell
Don’t make your goal to be the Best. Best is a label. It’s something someone else decides for you. ‘Better’ is more personal. –Baryshnikov
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you have lived so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. –J.K. Rowling
If you uniform isn’t dirty, you haven’t been in the game. –Ben Bernanke
And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. –Neil Gaiman
Just remember, you can’t climb a ladder of success with you hands in your pockets. –Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rule no. 1 is: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule no. 2 is: It’s all small stuff. –Robert Eliot
Looking forward to our next connection