It was a not-too-hot Friday afternoon in Phoenix when hundreds of students walked across the stage to accept a diploma and shake the principal’s hand. We sat in the auditorium watching our grandson Brad become a graduate.
At age eighteen, an adult in some arenas, he was still a boy to us. As others saw a tall, slightly bearded, almost man reach out for the rolled up sheepskin and continue to stride across the platform; all we saw was a boy learning to walk. ride a bike, talk to a girl, and make equations come out even. His whole life passed before us as he took that short walk from senior to graduate, from boy to man, from almost to there. What a magical few steps for him and for us, his family.
A graduation is a ceremony of an event that only happens once. Finishing high school is truly a big deal. High school itself is a big deal. It’s a turning point in everyone’s life. For Brad it was great, wonderful, difficult, too long, too short, an agony, an ecstasy, the best of times, the worst of times, all the extremes it was for all of us.
Brad made some of the best friends he will ever have. He learned the basics he will need to survive in the world. He practiced social graces he will find useful the rest of his life. That’s the purpose of a high school education – to get a kid ready to become an adult. And the culmination is graduation.
A graduation is a great celebration. It involves lots of family, all telling the graduate how proud they are, how grown up he looks, how wonderful his future appears. Who wouldn’t love hearing all this from twelve or more people?
It also involves special food, usually the new alum’s choice, which probably means burgers and fries. Our burgers and fries were especially good.
Then there are all the extras, such as gifts, flowers, balloons, cards and cakes. There’s no limit to these, as it is a life-altering event deserving of all manner of frills.
The following morning we all, including said graduate, were in serious conversation re: what happens next, what colleges to apply to, is a trade school better, should our student work while in school. Oh my, reality hit! Celebration over!