What a whirlwind May proved to be!
Of course, the final month of school always tests a teacher’s stamina. Final learning experiences, exciting culminating programs and awards ceremonies, and the unbridled anticipation of summer infuse our hallways with uninterrupted electricity!
This May, however, presented a different dynamic for me as two of my three boys celebrated milestones on their respective academic journeys. My second son, Robert, completed middle school and is on his way to his upper school experience at Parish.
My oldest, TC, concluded his journey at Parish along with his classmates in our 10th graduating class. He is excited to begin his studies at Texas A & M in August! As the relatively quieter summer days on campus begin, I am finding time to catch my breath and gather my thoughts.
As you might imagine, I was asked often if these graduation ceremonies felt differently to me. The answer has been at once an obvious yes and a more nuanced no. Like our fellow 8th and 12th grade parents, my wife, Mollie, and I were filled with a range of emotions in the shadows of these ceremonies: pride, disbelief (not that our sons graduated successfully, just that time had moved so swiftly!), sadness, wonder, and a dash of anxiety.
While I felt these more intensely and personally this year, though, they were not unfamiliar to me. Each May for 25 years, as I’ve looked at the faces of 8th graders or seniors with whom I have worked, I have felt similar emotions: Pride in what the students had accomplished; disbelief that the youngsters I once knew were now high school or college bound; sadness that graduating seniors would soon be gone from my daily routine; wonder as to what life might hold in store for these young people; and a dash of anxiety that they would find their way.
If anything, this past frenetic month reminded me of this: For better or for ill, my roles as head of school and dad are inextricably intertwined. The words and lessons I share with Parish’s students are spoken by a Head of School but crafted by a father. My commitments and responsibilities to my three boys are lifelong and unconditional, but my prayers for all of the young people in my life are uniform:
- That they recognize that God has bestowed gifts upon them which are uniquely theirs.
- That with zeal and purpose these young people will discover what these gifts are and that with a discerning eye and ear they will look and listen for the people, places, and causes which need them most.
- And that one day when they take account of their lives, they will well with fulfillment borne of having left their impact doing the purposeful work they were called to do.
Come next May, I will return to wearing just one hat – that of the head of school. I will carry with me, though, terrific memories of a frantic month of May in 2016 when, with excitement, I proudly wore two hats – that of head of school and dad.