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Column: Victory lap

Posted: May 31, 2018 1:10 p.m.
Updated: June 1, 2018 1:00 a.m.

For my family the last six weeks has put us on quite the roller coaster of emotions to say the least. My mother’s passing was followed by two graduations. We celebrated my son’s college graduation in May and my oldest daughter will walk across the gym at Camden High one final time on Saturday. This swarm of ups and downs has certainly been a mixed bag of sorts; an ebb and flow of many sentiments -- the good, the bad, and a few ugly cry faces.

I am quick to remind myself that this is life at its best and its bottom. The rose garden was bound to have its share of rain amongst the sunny days, but both are necessary. So we march on like soldiers and face the tides of change with our best ability.

As a parent, with each child’s graduation, I find my brain working overtime to churn up the most significant words of wisdom to offer my graduates as they traverse these milestones. It would feel like my head is a busy card catalog at the library spinning madly to find a particular book, or in my case, the most relevant advice to give.

It’s just what we do as parents; perpetually imparting our sound advice, praying our children will not only hear, but take with them as well some of our insight we’ve been annoyingly repeating over the course of many years. We can at least hope.

So now, I will pull out the most pertinent and loving thoughts from my crowded head and put them in writing for not only my graduates, but their friends as well.

To our graduates: I always told you time has a way of flying by and sure enough, it did. Trust me when I say, there is no pause button in life. If there were, I would’ve hit it a very long time ago. As well, the “reverse” and “fast-forward” buttons are not your friends; stay in the present, live in the moment. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan for your college or graduate school exams, you do. So plan your time accordingly. Your grades depend on it.

Problems are not the end of the world and learning the best route through them will serve you well in life. Calmly face your obstacle and do not panic; there is a solution.

Learn how to read a compass and operate a payphone because your cell phone will fail you on more than one occasion.

Never forget the morals you were raised on. They are real and will be your guide in good and in bad times.

Know the importance of a firm handshake and remembering people’s names.

Show up and be on time. Early is even better.

Hold your fire and count to 10. Learn to be still and listen more.

Make your bed.

Take care of yourself and your belongings.

New is not always better.

Be yourself.

Dream big and dare mightily.

When you want to veer off the beaten path, know that sometimes the road is well traveled because it is the best road. There have been plenty of saints and scholars who have come before you for a reason, so never count out their route.

Experiences are far more valuable than material things.

Keep a journal.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Learn CPR.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Don’t let your checking account get overdrawn. The fees can get ugly.

Sleep is your friend. Eating well is too.

What you put on social media is permanent. Navigate carefully.

A broken heart will mend over time.

Be kind and polite.

Volunteer even when you think you have no time.

Forgiveness is something you do for yourself.

Go to church. Pray and give thanks every day. God is always listening.

Call your parents. They want to hear your voice.

Dress up. Do your laundry. Fold your clothes.

Learn how to change a flat tire!

Most of all, remember how loved you are -- we’ve got your back at all times. This is one of the big moments in your life. Be proud and enjoy taking this victory lap -- you have earned it!

There will be more…

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