Sunday, June 13, 2010

Your Mortarboard

It's that time of year.
Mortarboards and gowns are donned by excited youth in school auditoriums or in the heat of football stadiums. As you know, a mortarboard is the "cap" in the cap & gown of graduation regalia.
Zorana posted about her son's graduation and, upon seeing the awesome photo of the grads, I was inspired to write you all.
I know that perhaps you, and your families everywhere, are celebrating your babies and nieces and grandsons who have worked for years in high school and college to "survive the hassle for the tassel" and attain the privilege of a diploma.
Congratulations!!!
As a high school educator, I had the privilege of assisting my students in securing those tassels to their mortarboards and holding their hands as they wept at thoughts of leaving the familiar for the unknown before walking those halls that final time before commencement. I thought of those that had college scholarships and would go on to wear another gown four years later.

But, I also know many kids who, for whatever reason, will not wear a mortarboard and gown...ever.

So, in that light, may I ask something of you?
If you are a parent of a graduate,
PLEASE be sure that you celebrate YOUR achievement of
raising your child in a manner that inspired this achievement.
I've been teaching for 25 long years, so I'm very serious about this:
PARENTS ARE THE DIFFERENCE.
It's what you MODEL for that child: reading, discipline, health, work ethic, goal-setting...
All of that determines the choices that child makes: To pass a test, to do homework, to achieve goals for themselves, to climb to the next rung of the ladder, to have fun and finish work at the same time.
Maybe grandparents did this. Maybe an influential aunt or uncle. Maybe a sibling.

So.
After the family has gone. After the graduate has left for the beach...
Reward yourself.
You did it!
If only in secret, take a moment, DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOU, and reflect upon what it took to get him/her there.
Know that you have my gratitude for all you did. Congratulations from a partner.

Then, go inspire a young parent to do the same.
Good parents hold our future in their hands.

May they do it all with
Love & Laughter,
DJ

18 comments:

Mary said...

Thank you!
My third just graduated and is heading off to college. Sometimes it's I focus on all the things I did not do correctly and don't see the things I did right! So thank you for this!!!!

Hugs!

Janet said...

Beautiful post, DJ! And you're so right.

ArtPropelled said...

Well said DJ. Of course having a wonderful teacher like you makes a huge difference too.

Martha Lever said...

Hi DJ! What a wonderful post and yes, you are so right it is all about the parents and what they have modeled for the kids. Thank YOU for being a caring teacher and it is about the parents but it is also about good teachers, like you, who inspire the kids when there is not inspiration at home. AGAIN THANK YOU!!!

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

What a great post DJ. I work in the school system and so agree that the parent's make all the difference.

Our daughters have been gone from the nest now for over 7 years and we are so proud of the women they've become. I'm especially proud that they chose fields where they can inspire and help others. One is an elementary teacher and the other is a Counselor/Therapist. They may never be rich money wise, but rich in matters of the heart because they are helping others succeed and overcome.

I can tell that you are an awesome teacher and person DJ. The world is blessed because of people like you in it.

Lee Ann

Kathleen Pequignot said...

Yes, thank you for the reminder. It is nice to know that others understand the impact that parents and caregivers have on our youth. I gave up a career to homeschool my daughter from 1st through 4th grade, giving her the best foundation for writing, reading, and math. I continued to make myself available throughout the high school years, waiting at home with my cup of tea to listen to the highlights of the day and the success of exams and papers that were returned. She enjoyed coming home. That is a reward in itself.

I wouldn't give up those years for any career I could have had. I too am an educator, and when I am in the classroom, I see and hear the trials of many students. I know there are some children who do not return at the end of the day to a place that I would call "home". Yes, the home environment makes a difference. I know that I have been greatly blessed.

Best wishes to all the graduates. May all their dreams come true. :)

FunkyArtGirl said...

Hi DJ! Came upon your blog from CCS...

Wonderful post, I did not know you are HS teacher--hats (mortarboard) off to you!!! The fact that you took the time to share these thoughts really says alot about your love for your students--how lucky they (and their parents) are to have you as part of their education :) Thank you for this, I will be sure to share this post with our friends who are celebrating their grads! My little one is going to be 4 years and we've been ever so grateful for his teachers already! Between myself and all of his other natural science "aunties"--which he'll probably see as a blessing and a curse as he grows LOL--we're looking forward to continuing an active interest in his education experience!

Zorana said...

Such an amazing post! Thank you DJ! I feel hugged. I cried when my son said that because of what we as parents showed him and did for him, and the love and support he had from his grandparents he would have been ashamed not to succeeded. As an educator, I'm sure you know that there are those rare, but very special teachers that ignite something in a child and help them move forward. I'm sure you are one of them. So - back at you - do something special for yourself and know that we are grateful. xo

Usha said...

You are so correct DJ. Thank you for being such a caring teacher. We need more like you.

~Babs said...

Teachers make SUCH a difference, no matter what the parents have done. We trust them to you. A heavy responsibility you have. Thanks to people like you, we have an R.N. daughter,,,happy in her field, doing well, contributing to society in a very good way.
We are proud.
Thank you!

Mary said...

No I have not seen his videos.
Is he a part of "Passion" church???
I have a friend who has been attending, and I think she mentioned his name.

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Oh my goodness DJ! I just watched the YouTube video you suggested from Mary's blog. Amazing-Amazing-Amazing!!!!! Brought tears to my eyes too. I'm passing this on.

Thanks,
Lee Ann

Martha Lever said...

Hi DJ! Yes, we DO need grace everyday!!!!! THanks for visiting.:))

Mary said...

I just watched the video!
Thank you so much - I needed to hear that!!

Hugs!!

Zorana said...

I wish I had your email so that I can thank you for the wonderful and thoughtful comments you leave me. They make me feel calm and happy every time, and every time I mouth a silent "thank you" and smile, but you can't see it. Thank you!

Manon Doyle said...

Awe.... lovely post, DJ! My daughter, Alex, graduated from high school last year. I remember the day like it was yesterday. She just finished her freshman year in college!!
You are a wonderful teacher... I can tell! I'm sure you have made a difference in many young people's lives! My hat off to you!! : )

joanne said...

Hi DJ,

Well said, thank you!

TJ said...

This one brought me to tears DJ. What lucky students that have you as a part of their education. You're something special! xoxo tj in germany