Monday, June 16, 2014

Commencement

It is a large word, one that we often confuse with "graduation" - that we are completing something, not beginning something.

But that is what it is, a beginning.

This summer was Aden's commencement - the completion of childhood as we know it in America and the beginning of his adulthood. The beginning of his college experience, of living life more on his own terms. Of him making his own decisions that will affect the rest of his life.

It is both a graduation and commencement for me.  It is a graduation in that I am no longer the primary teacher for my son; he is now taking college classes. I, of course, will help him maneuver those classes as necessary, but they will not be my classes.  I will no longer grade his material, set up his syllabus, or tell him when assignments are due. This coming fall, I have a homeschool class load of 2, and it makes me so happy and sad that I cannot believe the depth of both emotions can be felt so at the same time.

It is a commencement for me, though, as well. It is a new dialogue I have with him. I find myself telling him: "here are your options - which do you feel would work best?"  I have told him: "I cannot make that decision for you."  I have told him, "I can help you with the material, but I cannot do the work. You are the adult, and you have to do the work."   Suddenly it is a dialog of choices and plan A and plan B, but it is not I making those decision, it is Aden, and I have to step back and see how his decisions unfold.

And it is so hard. After years of having my hands on that unfolding process, of making the choices and determining what will happen and softening the blow or broadcasting his achievements, I have to step back and give him his future.  His hands are the ones in the unfolding process, and I can only hope that I have provided enough guidance for those hands.

So now I just hope and pray:  that he sees the joys in the smallness of life, not just the big things. That he learns to save money, but also to spend it when necessary on opportunities and experiences. That he is a strong and righteous man who makes good decisions that benefit him and the world around him.

I see him do things like fight for his family, be diplomatic when necessary, be committed to his purpose and goals, be supportive when things seem bleak, and I hope that as a man, he continues in those behaviours, as they will serve him well.  He is on the right road now, but it is an easy road to lose track of, and I desperately hope and pray that he can stay on that road, even at the darkest moments.

Later this week, we head out to the counselor's office so he can see what classes he should take in the fall. He is hoping to pass some placement tests to achieve some additional college credit, and he is hoping to teach himself some new technology in hopes of earning a job in his field of study.  He is setting goals and working to reach them.

That is what I hope for him the most: at the commencement of his adult life, that he continues to set goals and never stops reaching for them.

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