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Congratulations Class of 2016 · 11 June 2016


Congratulations class of 2016! You made it. It is time to relax a little and enjoy your accomplishments. But do not rest on your laurels too long. They just get tired.


This year, as in 2010, I have a more special reason to congratulate the graduates. I have one myself. So besides all those graduates who have been in my classroom or on my field or just in my hallway, I have a graduate who has lived in my house and eaten my food. Thing 2 is graduating.


I am, of course, happy for the graduates. Happy and excited that they are moving on to the next stage of life. But I am also a bit anxious and sad. Anxious because I do not know whether I have prepared my students or my son well enough for the road ahead. Sad because I must say goodbye. Thankfully, some of them will come back and see me or at least stay in touch online. Hopefully, one of them will be our son.


I suppose that I should not be too anxious. I have given my best to my children and my students. And hopefully, I have shown them how to live as well. How to love and respect each other. How to work hard and enjoy life to the fullest. How to be confident in their quest to conquer the world. I know I have missed the mark at times. Probably more often than not. But I have given them all the important lessons that I know. Still, I thought maybe I would remind them one more time.


We talk about it often at home, but I actually just get to allude to the most important lesson of all when I am at school. I tell my students that Jesus is my Lord and they do not get to take His name in vain around me, but I do not get to tell them that they ought to make that choice and live that life as well. I do not get to tell them that living a life dedicated to the Lord of the universe is worth everything, but I try to live a life that shows it.


I probably do a better job of living a life of respect at school than I do at home. (Maybe I ought to play Aretha Franklin’s Respect song at home more often.) It is not that I do not respect my own children, I just say do stuff and say stuff that is not construed that way. I do not listen as well as I should. I insist that I must have the last word. Or something like that. I have been working to do a better job of treating my children with the utmost respect as if they were adults, but it is difficult. I still see them as my babies. I still see them as if they need my guidance and protection, rather than a listening ear and a closed mouth. I do respect Thing 2. I guess I am just not ready for him to grow up all the way. And that translates into words and deeds seen as disrespect.


I am not sure that my students really see the other important lesson I want them to have. At least not like my own kids see. My students just see me walking around helping folks out or giving encouragement to my students and athletes. They see me following my passion and not working a day in my life. On the other hand, my family sees me at work all the time. They see me as a tired dad who has already given his best at work and does not have much left for his family. I do work hard, but I hope I give my best at home too. I hope that I have not really just given my family the leftovers, even though at times it seems that way.


I know that my job as a teacher and father is to make myself obsolete to those in my care. I know that they are supposed to go out and leave the nest. I just hope I have prepared them well enough. I hope that the lessons of choosing Jesus, loving and respecting others, and working hard at a job you love have sunk in. I hope that I have been a good enough example of those lessons that they remember. I hope I have the strength to let them go. Especially, my own graduate.


I do not know when you find out whether you did your job well as a parent or an educator, but waiting for the results is never a fun time. Still, we parents and educators can pat ourselves on the back a little for we have helped the kids get this far. And we can give them a hug as we wish them well on the next step in their journey.


Congratulations class of 2016. Congratulations, Thing 2. You made it.

© 2016 Michael T. Miyoshi

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