noun grad·u·a·tion \ˌgra-jə-ˈwā-shən\
“Is this the little girl [we] carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
[We] don’t remember growing older
When did they?
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he get to be so tall?
Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?
Swiftly flow the days.
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as we gaze.
Swiftly fly the years ~
One season following another,
Laden with happiness and tears.
What words of wisdom can [we] give them?
How can [we] help to ease their way?”
Excerpt from “Sunrise, Sunset”
Lyrics by B.J. Thomas
“One season following another, Laden with happiness and tears.” It is that time of year again, throughout cities large and small in America where students of all ages step across the threshold named, education. With hands wide open, they receive their past and future with a smile and a handshake. Graduation is one of many “milestones” marking a place of arrival, yet the journey continues. “[We] don’t remember getting older, when did they?”
“Wasn’t it yesterday when they were so small?” The journey, to date, has taken 18 years, or 22 years and for some 50 years or more! We mark this passage of time with photographs, gifts, and celebratory parties for the graduate. As the miles fill with time and the road behind us dims, it would be good for all of us to “graduate,” again. “Swiftly flow the days. Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, Blossoming even as we gaze.” Celebrate not just the typical high school/college graduation moments, but remember to acknowledge the everyday kind of events that occur along the roadway of life. “Swiftly fly the years.”
This moment in time will fly by quickly. In the quiet repose after the balloons, streamers and cake crumbs are swept away, “What words of wisdom can [we] give them? How can [we] help to ease their way?” One thought is to leave a place where a tangible “milestone” can be re-visited. A poignant reminder for the graduate of the road they have travelled, a tree, a garden, a bench in the park. Also, the graduate may consider leaving a tangible marker of their own. A stone or stack of stones by the side of a road which shows the distance travelled or the distance yet to go. A tradition known to hikers on a journey, an ‘inuksuk.’ Congratulations, Class of 2017! Enjoy the journey, place a stone, and do stop to smell the roses along the way.