Parent School

A few months ago I watched my daughter march into the stadium with hundreds of graduates. The wind was blowing, flags brilliant, music rousing and faces radiant. My daughter had spent many long years earning her degree. After all the pomp and circumstance of that commencement ceremony what touched my daughter most occurred before she entered the stadium. Faculty and alumni lined the streets leading to the stadium clapping and shouting their congratulations with comments like:
“You’re the hope of our future!”
“Way to hang in there, work hard and never give up!”
“We’re so proud of you!”
As I sat in the bleachers that chilly day in Philadelphia, I realized society doesn’t recognize or reward parents. We neglect to give the most necessary members of our society any kind of diploma after they’ve spent many long years taking care of the human race. Yet I also realized that even if we held graduation ceremonies I don’t think many parents would attend.
Parents don’t do what we do so someone will give us a diploma to hang on our wall or so we can earn more money. We don’t do what we do because others will admire or praise us. We do what we do because we love our children and eventually everybody’s children. Parents may be largely invisible to society - but not to God. Each scraped knee we tend and each night of sleep we sacrifice is a personal purification process. For parenthood is God’s school. The graduation ceremonies are unique for each man or woman.
Parents pass through educational ranks something like this: When we quit feeling sorry for ourselves we graduate with the Associate of Amateurism degree. When we stop being so hard on our self we graduate with the Bachelor of Blunders degree. When we finally learn to rely on God to clean up our messes we are awarded the Master of Muddling degree. When we understand we need to keep learning for the rest of our life we graduate with our Doctorate of Humility degree.
Graduates at universities add to their cap and gown costume as they get advanced degrees. They start out wearing simple black caps and gowns then progress to colored hoods placed over their shoulders and finally velvet stripes down their arms. Graduates from parent school start out wearing fashionable clothing, progress to maternity or work clothes then wear anything that allows them to get down on the floor and play.
After all we’ve learned, lived and loved we seasoned parents need to line the streets applauding new parents marching toward selflessness shouting things like:
“Way to hang in there, work hard and never give up!”
“You’re the hope of the future!”
“We’re so proud of you!”
Then we can all throw our tasseled caps into the air together, take pictures and keep on doing what we love forever. The most prestigious letters we can have printed after our name are M.O.T.H.E.R or F.A.T.H.E.R.

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