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As always, my view from the bleachers can be just about anywhere there is something to spectate. This month is no different as it is time for graduation; for watching that moment that the kids have been working towards for thirteen public school years. 

A diploma is a stepping stone to the new realm of adulthood. Along with the rolled up piece of paper indicating the fact that certain prerequisites have been accomplished comes a handshake and the movement of tassel on mortarboard that indicates a great deal more. A real handshake that is a welcome into a new world…a world without the restraints of high school. Most kids will likely not shed the realities of the restraints placed upon them by parents until they are truly “on their own”, but the idea of an educator looking over their shoulder for 13 long years is probably harder to shake. 

One couple of parents I know managed to “let go” diplomatically by mostly providing a more shephard-like series of events that began with the obligatory graduation party, continued through the summer by securing contacts at the university, and culminating with toasts to the new adventure before the semester began. They did this with a HUGE smile on their faces and the grace and dignity their daughter earned over the years by being a great kid-turned-adult. It has been a privilege to watch their relationship move from parent-child to parents-daughter-friends. Phil and Janet Hart said of the experience with their daughter, Brooklynne, “Now that your teen has completed a major milestone in their life, you can only pray that good choices are in their future.” 

Knowing how it went with their daughter, I am certainly watching them and others closely for the best methods of “letting go.” My eldest son is about to enter his junior year and his accomplishments and commitments are multiplying at warp speed. One of my favorite pieces of advice has always been, “watch how others do it, take your lessons from their successes or mistakes.” That advice has always worked for me and seems like the most diplomatic of methods to make my own way towards facilitating that major upcoming milestone…the diploma.