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It’s our last one. This weekend, we will watch our youngest child walk across the stage and get her high school diploma.  High school graduation is the bitter and the sweet end of a season. It’s the closest thing our culture has to a rite of passage. It’s an event that many mothers dread, clinging to every last minute they have with their child. It’s an event that makes us look back over the past 18 years and reflect.

High school graduation is an event that also brings many emotions for mothers. Some experience pride, joy and anticipation. Some experience disappointment, relief and even fear. We hope and pray that everything is always going to go well for our child. We design a mental plan and map out how we want our child’s life to take shape. But sometimes things don’t happen like we planned. This past year has caused me to reexamine some of my own thoughts and expectations and see things from a different perspective.

Perhaps you hoped that your son would be a star football player, yet chooses to write music and play his guitar quietly in his room? Why not change your perspective and be grateful for the sensitivity, the creativity and the musical talent? Some have little appreciation for music and the arts.

Perhaps you have a daughter who goes to every party, every dance, every social occasion and you have spent a small fortune on dresses and accessories? Thank God for that socialite! She has friends, is emotionally well-adjusted and happy. Not every student goes to the prom. Some struggle getting out of bed in the morning.

Perhaps your child is not involved in organizations at school, but prefers part-time employment? Why not change your perspective and appreciate the value of hard work and income? Some students have no interest in working.

Perhaps you planned for your child to go to college but instead he desires to learn a skill or trade? Our society puts so much emphasis on grades and testing. We judge students by those standards, often overlooking immense talent and potential. Not every student will cut it in math and science. Mothers must give themselves permission to get past this and strive to instill healthy self-esteem and confidence in their child. Thank God that your son has an interest and a direction.  Some struggle for years trying to find their way.

Despite the differences, there are things in all our children’s lives that we can be grateful for. Our three red-headed children, although born to the same parents and raised in the same home are completely different from each other. One is artsy and spontaneous and became a vocalist and music therapist. One is quiet and disciplined and became an accountant. The third is still being molded into the young lady God intends her to be. God has made each one of them unique with their own distinct personalities, strengths and passions.  How do we handle this? Looking back over the past 26 years I would suggest:

  1. Love each child equally and unconditionally. Each one is fearfully and wonderfully made.
  2. Appreciate and embrace their unique personalities. God has a unique plan for each one.
  3. Accentuate their strengths and interests. Give them opportunities to explore and grow.
  4. Remember your time is limited. Do everything you can to pour into them in the short amount of time you have.

And finally, as those caps are thrown into the air, perhaps that should be our time to release them to God and let them go. For this Mom who didn’t get anesthesia with the birth of this graduate, it is just as painful. But, the writer of Ecclesiastes notes that there is a time for everything. Even graduating and flying out of the nest. The secret to peace is to accept God’s timings.  Despite the joy and the pain, He does make everything beautiful in its time. Perhaps you need to change your perspective.  It’s normal and healthy for kids to grow up, become independent and move on. Don’t dread it, enjoy it! Let’s get out of the way, let them go, and trust God to work out HIS perfect plan.