I’m going to take a break from my usual habit of ranting about assorted and sordid public affairs to speak personally for a moment.
From the time my daughter, Julia, was five months old, she refused to sit on laps – mine or anyone else’s. Even then, she had an agenda of her own. From the time she could wriggle across the floor, she was always going someplace to do something. She is the most independent person I know.
A year and a half ago, as a high school sophomore, she had one of those experiences in which she discovered that her friends weren’t really her friends. That’s been happening since high school was invented, but these days it happens on Facebook, which seems to make it hurt even more. She went through a brief but intense period of personal struggle, and she came out the other side a much stronger – and even more independent – person. She has used her experience to help others.
She decided that high school wasn’t for her, so she started asking around to see if there was a way to be done with it sooner than the rules said she would be. She discovered that if she stopped taking study hall, loaded up on classes at school and took a couple of classes outside of school, she could graduate as a junior.
She graduated tonight, and if I’d taken a picture that did her justice, I would post it here.
Her academic performance was very good, if not brilliant, but along the way she participated in more activities than I can count. In a school of 3200 students, she was known, and more or less adopted, by her principal. She got college advice from her superintendent. She was accepted by all but one of the colleges she applied to, and she plans to attend a school that ranks as one of the top 25 large universities worldwide. It is her superintendent’s alma mater. She deferred college for a year, which she will spend in Honduras working in an orphanage. She made all of this – the early graduation, the college selection, the testing, the applications, the activities, the sourcing of an opportunity for both service and personal growth – happen with virtually no involvement from her parents.
What more could you ask for?
Well, sometimes you get more without even asking for it.
This is my platform and these are my children. This is from the baccalaureate ceremony at our church yesterday. All about the phases of your life. The video is shaky, but you won’t get me to admit that it’s shaky because the guy holding the iPhone was shaking. I invite you to brighten your day by spending a couple of minutes listening to them.
I am indeed exceptionally proud and utterly unapologetic. I am also incredibly lucky.