“A sense of worthiness is a child’s most important need.”
Polly Berrien Berends
Today my middle son is graduating from high school. I can’t believe this day has come so quickly. I can remember making him his favorite lunch – refried bean and cheese tortilla, applesauce and milk (he dips the tortilla in the applesauce) – what seems like yesterday. I’m preparing for the ceremony: I’ve ironed his gown, made sure he has clean and pressed clothes, arranged dinner for him prior to the ceremony because I know it’s long (there are over 750 kids in his class); all the things that a mom does for her kid on graduation day.
What about all the other days?
I find myself looking back on the last 18 years reviewing the ways I’ve prepared him for his adult life and hoping I’ve taught him what he needs to know.
There are all the basics: showering daily, brushing teeth, putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher (still work to be done there), laundry, cooking for himself, keeping his bedroom somewhat tidy (again, progress not perfection on this one), asking for directions. I know he’s got a pretty good handle on these.
Then there are the traits that are important like: sending thank you notes for gifts, opening doors for women and the elderly, volunteering for a charity or cause that is important, being respectful to adults and those in authority positions. He’s got this down as well.
The most important things I hope I’ve taught him aren’t things I can measure by tasks; they’re all about him and what kind of person he wants to be.
Trusting that he can always find the right answer in himself, if he is still and goes within.
The ability to pause before reacting can make all the difference in a conflict.
Loving the work he does is essential to living a great life.
Everything in life takes effort and it’s all worth it.
Lessons are found in every experience.
Knowing he has a purpose and what it is.
Love is the greatest gift he can give – and receive.
He has value and is worthy of an incredible life – just because he is alive.
He is loved for who he is, not what he accomplishes.
I know he will learn many of these things as his life stretches out before him. Sometimes he’s going to falter, sometimes he’s going to crash, and sometimes he’ll be on top of the world.
I’m so proud of who he is as a person, what he’s achieved and how he’s grown in the last 4 years. It has been such a gift to watch him grow, try new things and stretch himself.
And now I need to let him fly and test his wings. I’m torn between excitement and wanting to hug him even tighter.
What I’ve learned over the years is that nothing is more important than letting my kids know they are loved, worthy of love and enough just as they are. I hope they never forget that.
But if they do somewhere along the way in life, that’s ok.
I’ll be here to remind them.