My nephew graduated this week. We were, unfortunately, too far away and had too many local obligations to make the ten hour trip to see him receive his diploma and celebrate with him. We miss a lot of family milestones living so far away. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t take the opportunity to send him our love (and a little something else) and talk to him that day to congratulate him.
We kept the conversation lighthearted, but we tried to impart some wisdom to him in the card.
This is the start of summer, but it’s the end of his high school career. It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new life for him.
To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, Oh the places he’ll go.
We want to him to know how proud we are, but we also want to know if he’s ready for the challenges he’ll face. We want him to remember the values of hard work, determination, and morality he was taught. And while it’s important that he start learning independence, we also want him to know he always has people he can turn to for support.
Of course, we didn’t really need to tell him any of it. Not only did his parents and his grandparents and his older brother and his other aunts and uncles tell him the same things, this kid is the definition of dependable. If you’re worried about the future of our country, you can rest a little easier knowing he’ll be one of the people in charge of it someday.
In the novel I just completed (release date still to be determined), it’s not the adults who impart wisdom on the graduate, but rather the graduate who shares a few wise words via his valedictory address.
I think sometimes, as adults, we forget these kids are growing up in a different world than we did. They grow up faster, they learn more, they have the world at their fingertips from the time they are born. And while rushing through their childhoods isn’t always a good thing, the “kids” graduating today are leaving high school with more knowledge than we ever did, and with more skills and capabilities than we credit them with.
Maybe it’s time we stop and listen to them once in a while.
If you have any children or young adults in your WIPs, consider using them not as the cute secondary character or the subplot that complicates something for the main characters, but possibly as the character who offers the sage advice the main character needs to hear. There’s a reason the saying, “From the mouths of babes,” has been around for so long. Kids have a tendency to tell the truth, whether you want to hear it or not. Maybe in your story it’s not the wise old wizard with all the answers. Maybe it’s just a kid who sees things clearly.
It’s graduation season. For all the graduates out there, congratulations! Celebrate, but be safe. And best wishes as you embark on the next stage of life’s journey.
So readers, what do you think? Do you have a wise kid in your life whose story you’d like to share? Let’s talk about it.