Saturday, June 6, 2015

Milestones.

It's June.  Graduation last night, retirement breakfast this morning, and a wedding this afternoon and evening.  For non-educators, there are probably few connections to be drawn between these seemingly-unrelated life passages.  For educators, well, we wax poetic this time of year, and draw all sorts of philosophical messages that we find in these life events.   
Each and every one of these celebrations required extensive planning.  Certainly, there are obvious ties to the creative process that could be discussed at length.  There also is the fact that the planners in each of these events had significant motivation to complete the tasks -- AND an Authentic Audience for whom they would ultimately perform.

Every single day we are called to compromise.   We pick our battles with co-workers, family members, and those nimnumbheads on the highways who think that the shoulder of the road is their personal high speed lane when traffic is stopped.  We make decisions based on how tired we are, how hungry we are, and how much we want to find peace and harmony. My goddaughter, Rosemary, was married today.  Coincidentally, the wedding occurred in the same church, and the reception at the same venue, as Bruce's and my wedding nearly 32 years ago. (Rosemary and Ben clearly understand the art of compromise when it comes to designing wedding cakes.)   Brides and grooms work with great care to create the perfect wedding experience for their guests, and to preserve those memories in photos that won't be too cringe-worthy in the future.  Retirees spend countless hours with their financial gurus making sure that their plans for the future are as fiscally stable as possible -- after all, their mental health and physical well-being are about as authentic an audience that they'll ever encounter! 
And graduates?  Well, there four years in high school may not have been entirely focused on that one night of diploma securement, but as the date grew closer, and the days grew fewer, there was an obsessive, sometimes reluctant, countdown.  Sure, the stage for many was just something to walk across with a few family members cheering from the audience.

But the pride of family in celebrating and toasting accomplishments such as these is never overrated.  In the last twenty four hours I've seen hundreds of parents, grandparents, and siblings cheering on their new graduates with pride and respect.  I've witnessed two retiring colleagues speak in front of those of us left behind in the trenches of teaching, while their family members (one son, one husband) looked on in admiration.

And I saw a daughter who learned to waltz with her father (for an authentic audience at her wedding), and a father learn to speak Elvish, to toast the happy couple.

Yes, it is people that cause us to strive to do just a bit more, just a bit better, to generate pride in ourselves, and our loved ones.   After all, we -- and they -- deserve the best.