Part 1: Managing The Moments To High School Graduation
Spring is in the air; which means high school graduation is around the corner. High School Seniors will leave their respective high schools and descend on colleges, careers, or the military in about three months; moving ever closer to that much anticipated moment where they move out and begin their own life journey.
We will begin a three-part series on getting ready for the months that are ahead and provide some pointers to help navigate the transition.
Let me begin by sharing, I am no expert! My oldest daughter attended college in another state. I spent the entire summer readying myself for the goodbye. I rehearsed the process; pack the car, drive 14 hours, unpack the car, “the last meal” (at least for three months) and goodbye. Well, August arrived and it was time for all the practice to pay off. We did the packing, loading the car, drove 14 hours, unpacked, experienced the “last meal” and said goodbye. Wait, sorry, I forgot to mention that I began crying during the unloading. My goodbye was barely audible and I proceeded to cry for three states! So much for the mental training!
Part one of this series is managing the moments to graduation and yes, some mental practice on saying goodbye but more importantly, celebrating the time that leads up to the vertible goodbye!
- Enjoy the moments that lead up to graduation. I was a high school principal for a number of years and recently retired. The best job ever! Graduation is a big deal, so let it be a big deal. It is one of the few rites of passage we have left in our society that says to our graduates; hey you are an adult now! So enjoy the moments that lead up to graduation. There are so many programs, recognition ceremonies, concerts, sporting events that make up your high school experience; celebrate and appreciate them.
- Capture the moments! No matter how much your senior whines about all those pictures, don’t relent! Keep taking them. I attended so many graduation open houses and the display boards or scrolling videos of pictures were defining moments in the life of the student. Pictures that captured friendships, school events, family time and the ups and downs of growing up told a story of your student’s life experiences, so capture them regardless of the complaining!
- Cry early and often! 18 years went by so quickly and they are about to begin a new phase in life. It doesn’t mean, that as parents we stop loving, caring or even emoting. If you are anything like my wife and me, your children are at the center of your world. Not to be a helicopter or lawnmower parent, but you love them deeply and their departure will leave a void in your life and routine. So it is ok for your child to see you are sad about their departure, but also that you are excited about what lies ahead for them.
- Don’t get to lost in the sentiment of “where did the time go!” Future focus will help you manage some of the more difficult moments by allowing you to stay focused on the successes and hopes ahead for the graduate. Time did fly and it only moves quicker the older we get. SO embrace and celebrate every moment ahead!
Edina High School Principal and Dad.
Bruce Locklear, Ed.D. is an experienced High School Principal, Adjunct Instructor at Bethel University and current Director Of Educational Relations at Jostens