As we end another scholastic year and have begun going through another round of celebrations for high school graduates, I’ve been witnessing a lot of talk about the silliness of graduation ceremonies at different levels of education, especially at the elementary level. I thought about that a few years ago but then I came to the realization that the level of education in the elementary years has changed dramatically.
It has been more challenging with greater demands than in previous years. Certainly, more than when I was still in my grade school years as I have been challenged as an adult at the level of homework my kids would bring home that left me dumbfounded one too many times.
I also realized that the elementary school graduation marked the end of lessons for one institution, their first milestone in the educational process and the moving on to another school with yet another set of challenges. As parents, few realize the daily struggle that many of our kids go through. We get a brief look at it from the outside as an adult but fail to realize what’s significant for them at such a young age.
For some, sadly they never get told by their parents how proud they are of them. Their elementary graduation is the only recognition for accomplishments that they get as many parents in today’s hustle and bustle of a so called life often fail to realize and acknowledge their child’s achievements and personal struggles. It’s only a few special minutes, in one day out of their first educationally formative years that they can call their own.
At Kekaha School’s graduation, with the help of many members of the Kekaha Community Watch Group, we were able to provide leis to students who did not have parents there to celebrate it. They watched other parents and friends acknowledge the accomplishments of their classmates with hugs, kisses, flowers and leis.
They must have to wonder why their parents had not done the same for them. We gave leis made from the kindness of the community to these kids and the look on their faces were priceless. This was the one day that they were proud of and there were no family members there to celebrate with them.
Every time the elementary school graduation comes along, it calls to mind what a friend had once told me. She said that she was happy that she had at least been to her daughter’s elementary graduation. She died at 14 years old. It was the only graduation that her daughter would ever have.
Sometimes, we are so wrapped up in seeing things through our own eyes, we fail to understand what our kids see through theirs. It may not matter to many parents, but it means the world to our children. Life is short and is a gift that is not perpetual for we hold our children for just a brief moment in time and all too soon we have to let them go.
The sound of footsteps, loud music and laughter; the sight of unmade beds, toys scattered about and toothpaste on the bathroom sink from them lasts for but a moment in time. Instead of wondering why celebrate their elementary graduation, embrace it. For all too soon the house looks immaculate but gets too quiet, their smiling faces are seldom seen and all we have remaining are memories.
Celebrate each moment of your time with your children, even the ones we as adults feel as insignificant. For life is too short, you never know when that last celebration, will be the last.
Dominic Acain is a resident of Kekaha.