Yesterday, I had the experience of attending my son's preschool graduation. My eyes were welled with emotion as I walked into the gym. I have to admit, my feelings didn't come from the event. It was poorly organized and lacked much thought from the school. Without a microphone, we all couldn't hear any of the names called, associate any school buddy with our child, and they didn't even prepare a little song for the children to sing for us. It was pretty anti-climatic. I venture to guess that no other parent was emotional like I was. Why, then was I? Aside from finding out that our camera's battery was dead, my thoughts were of my little boy and how far he has come. He has worked so hard and strives to do his very best. It is difficult to put into words how very proud I am. As I write, I am tearing with emotion. I am in awe of my son. Together, we are climbing a mountain that once seemed impossible to climb. Today, my emotions take control because I see (maybe for the first time) the mountain top is not only possible to reach, it will be reached with the greatest of skill, each step hand in hand.
As I look past all the other parents, I twist and extend my torso to get a good look at my little graduate. Staring at the most important piece of my life, I have tunnel vision. Walking up the steps of the podium to retrieve his diploma, he is decked out in a shiny teal cap and gown. He gives his teacher a high five, looks out at the audience and retreats back to his seat. At this point, I am clapping like a mad person with tears streaming down my face, making sure my daughter is cheering as well and hoping my husband is capturing the moment with our video camera. It was our moment to acknowledge the struggles we overcame.
My son was first on the roster to receive his graduation status. Next, came his peers. One by one, they walked up the podium for their time in the spotlight. As each child was presented, it stunned me to hear the lack of participation in the audience (parents). There were only faint claps. Probably that of the parents of the child and us. The effort was minimal. Of course, I was clapping, my daughter was clapping, and my husband was clapping for every child. As I looked around the room, the audience was in their own little world chatting with others. Then I veered over to my son. Low and behold, as he saw each of his peers, he clapped without prompting. Sitting with his classmates, he was the cheering section. Emotions again floated through me as I realized he knew to clap because we cheer for each other every day. Cheering is not a learned skill through school. It just is part of a person's character. For me, it was a sign that raising my children with character and integrity is at the core of my work as a mother.
My question for today: Do you cheer for more than just your own people? Cheerleading is a skill that leads with encouragement, trust, and (if nothing else) lots of clapping. I learned my son is a leader today. Are you?