JACKSON, Tenn. – May 19, 2005– Across the country, high school graduates have been donning their caps and gowns and walking across the stage to accept their hard-earned diplomas. Aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends and other family members are gathering from all over to celebrate the accomplishments of their special graduates.
Whether heading off to college or going into the workforce, these young people are rightfully enjoying the gifts and attention being lavished on them because of their significant accomplishments. High school graduates with diplomas in hand are spreading their wings and preparing to take flight into their futures.
Although I am not far into parenthood myself, the thought of my son wearing a cap and gown and stepping out into this thing called life is too close for comfort. The year 2022 seems like a long time away, but when you’re talking about my little boy, it seems like tomorrow — and while he will one day be ready for that day, I’m not sure I will.
For starters, I can’t even imagine what he is going to look like at that time. Is he going to be tall or short? He was born with dark hair like mine. Now, it’s more blond like his mom’s. I just hope when he graduates it’s not green … or worse yet, gone.
There are many other questions. Will he have excelled academically? Right now, he is magnetically drawn to anything that has the slightest appearance of a ball — but is he going to be athletic? Will he like to read like his parents? What kind of sense of humor will he have? If Amy and I are looking back at pictures from six months ago, not believing how things have changed, we can only imagine how we will feel when his graduation day comes.
Before I get too focused on Jack’s graduation, I need to remember that we still have a lot of questions related to the life which is right out there in front of us. Will we send him to public schools, private schools or will he be home schooled? Will he take music lessons? If so, which instrument? What about sports? How many sports? What should we decide about his dating?
He has not even finger-painted yet, but I’m beginning to think I need to go ahead and brush up on my algebra and biology so I can help him with his homework. I’ve seen him push his little car around the kitchen, and if that is a foreshadowing of anything to come, then I don’t know if I have the courage to trust him behind the wheel of my vehicles.
There are many days before Jack’s graduation day comes. As a parent, I can get paralyzed by the thought of all that needs to be done to prepare him for that day. We will do well at times, and we will make plenty of mistakes. But as many of you are now experiencing, on graduation day we will be the proudest parents in the whole place.
Todd Brady is minister to the university.
By Todd E. Brady