Part of the Solution
By Reba J. McMellon, M.S.,LPC
This is the time of year that many graduations take place. So, what does it mean to graduate?
Graduation is a time of moving forward while looking back and being proud of your accomplishments. While graduation ceremonies will look different this year, the infamous year of 2020, it’s important to remember most milestones in life don’t involve a ceremony or cap and gown. Most graduations involve little pomp and circumstance.
You’ll likely always have someone cheering you on, but the crowds get smaller as you get older.
The good news is – that doesn’t make them any less important. Psychological research has shown that the milestones in life that bring the most internal motivations are the strongest. If a person is accomplishing things for external praise, the motivation is a shallow one. Internal rewards are the strongest.
Graduation is defined by moving from one stage of experience and proficiency to the next. Graduation is not an end; it’s a new beginning.
Academic is one type of graduation. As people move through life, there will be many important milestones. Graduating into adulthood, parenthood, and empty nests are a few examples. Wouldn’t it be nice if a marching band and a cheering crowd showed up in your front yard for those events?
Spiritual graduations that go beyond baptism and confirmation are important as well. Those, like high school graduations, are only the start. Spiritual growth is imperative but involve little outward fanfare.
If you have a graduate at your house, it’s a type of graduation for you too. Parents are ushering their graduates into young adulthood. They’ve made it to a new stage, and you have too. It is a time to step back and encourage your graduate to explore vocations, be prayerful and fly away from the nest. They can’t fly further than your love can reach. I promise.
If you are a graduate in 2020, lift your arms high in the air and give yourself a high five. You’ve achieved an important milestone, now go make your next mark while you high step it into your future.
(Reba McMellon, M.S. is a licensed professional counselor with 35 years of experience. She worked in the field of child sexual abuse and adult survivors of sexual abuse for more than 25 years. She moved back to Mississippi in 2001 and works part-time as a mental health consultant and freelance writer.)