Do you have a graduating senior in your family? Someone graduating from high school? How are they celebrating? Are they able to have a party? Has their graduation ceremony been modified, or worse, cancelled?
What about those moving on from college into the real world, only to be faced with a troubled job market and professional opportunities revoked?
And let’s not forget about your little one who completed pre-school and is moving onto Kindergarten! Was there a drive-by good-bye to the teachers or just a letter sent home thanking you for being a part of their “pre-school family” all those years?
As parents, we might feel more slighted than the kids do, after all they had no expectation of a graduation to begin with!
There are so many different ways schools have gone about trying to make graduation a special event, despite the inability to hold traditional ceremonies.
These students deserve to celebrate, to hug it out or fist bump each other.
They’ve earned the right to don their caps and gowns and strut across the stage only to throw their caps in the air, and they certainly earned the recognition for the hard work they’ve put in over the past however many years.
They’ve been cheated out of many of these pieces and for that, I am sorry.
But this is their reality, and any big moment experienced is worth recording, no matter how it played out.
I hope this is the last generation of graduates who celebrates from a distance, but there is something there that makes them special.
Like rain on a wedding day, no one asks for it, wants it, or is happy about it when it happens.
But it does make it memorable and special in its own way. Capture these moments.
Yes, of course your graduate will remember sitting in the car, waiting for his turn to be called up to walk across the parking lot and collect his diploma.
But, will he remember how he felt?
Or will he remember the masks on everyone’s face instead?
Did he have the earned benefit of feeling proud or rather did he feel nothing but nerves about being around others?
Was he disappointed that he couldn’t high-five his buddies after years of working together?
Or was he just happy for it to be over?
Emotions are part of the experience as a whole, and they are harder to capture.
Take a moment and ask your graduate to create a few minute video describing what it felt like to cross the threshold during a pandemic.
You are likely to be surprised by his answer!
Ask your 5 year-old how they feel about moving onward and upward to Kindergarten – they are less likely to remember how they felt, and less likely to realize their experience is any different from anyone else’s.
When the rain settles, and the wedding is over, the result is the same – a happily married couple who can’t wait to see what the world has in store for them.
The same is for these graduates, and despite these being challenging times, we need to remember to congratulate, honor and celebrate those who have put forth the hard work and achieved success.
Check in on them, ask how they are doing, and encourage them to record their experience.
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