Different Views on Graduation

In just a couple of days, my daughter Abigail will walk across a stage and receive her well-earned high school diploma. As we approach this milestone, I have noticed that there are many perspectives on this event.

I barely remember being a senior in high school; although, there are certainly plenty of bright spots throughout high school that float through my mind from time to time. As I try to see graduation through the eyes of my daughter and her classmates, I vaguely remember the sense of accomplishment and the weight of what this day means. Their hope and fear for the future is all mingled together. For many there is an inflated sense of how much they really know and how old they really are. After all, they are the oldest they have ever been and they know more than they have ever known. That will last until about August when college starts. But what my daughter seems to be experiencing is an increasing awareness that although life is about to change dramatically, it is still going to be great.

On the other hand, as parents we see this whole thing in a different light. Marni is approaching Abigail's graduation with all the emotion that comes with sending her only daughter off to live in the big city. She is already missing her. And although she is extremely grateful for all Abigail has accomplished, deep down she kind of wishes her little girl would stay little and still need her mommy a little more.

I am not sure if all dads face graduation like me, but I tend to look at it as more of a door opening than one closing. I have high hopes for my little girl who is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. I want to celebrate with her and relish in the joy she is finding in this process. And although I sometimes wonder how she will handle her new challenges or what direction her life will take, I know that we are only a phone call away. I also know that our Lord goes before her and already has a plan.

In some ways, Marni and I are really just two sides to the same coin. If I dwell too much on the fact that my little girl is all grown up and doesn't need me quite as much as she used to, then I might just lose it. Marni also trusts the Lord to protect Abigail no matter where He leads her. In fact, her faith in God's plan is probably one of the greatest things she has passed on to Abigail. That's why we can send her off to the great unknown knowing that it is only unknown to us. He has always known what her future holds.

So my prayer for Abigail and all those graduating this season is this:

May you always follow the steps of our faithful Father as He leads you toward Himself. May you find your worth in the fact that Jesus paid the highest price for your soul. May you be sensitive to the voice of the Spirit as He teaches and comforts you. And may you find joy and grace in every experiences of life. Amen.