Archive for May, 2010

“ConGRADulations”: 7 Ways to Celebrate Graduation

May 5, 2010

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You’ve cleaned up dirty diapers and bandaged “boo-boo’s”.  You just met the neanderthal taking your daughter to Prom and recently got a call from your son where he tells you he just cracked up the new car.  And, in between you’ve scolded, cuddled, kissed, spanked (can I say that?), wrestled, and worked on homework with them.  You made it through “THE” chat, with sweaty palms and a cracked voice and then wondered if they understood only to find out they knew much more than you expected (or wanted).  Trips and dates–dinners and late nights–movies and talks on the couch–evenings waiting for them to come home and mornings waiting for them to get up.  Ahhhh, 18 years filled with so many memories bring you to the day that you may dread but know is exactly why God lent them to you–you’re launching your child into the world.  Most of us will be launching them into college or some schooling.  Some into a job or even a young marriage.  It’s time to celebrate your child’s high school graduation.

Someday, I’ll chronicle the many and varied feelings my wife and I have had as we’ve launched two into college and will launch our last (daughter) this year.  But, though I’m nostalgic, I want to share how we can celebrate their accomplishment.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been pouring through thousands of pictures in iPhoto or songs in iTunes in order to produce the third graduation DVD.  Or, maybe it’s due to the fact that I’ve been watching my wife spend hours putting together a book of picture memories covering 18 years of our child’s life.  In any case, it’s our third time through this routine in the last four years (our son graduated in 2006, a daughter in 2008 and now our last in 2010).  So, over the next week or so, I’ll share various posts about graduation and celebration.  Now, I want to stimulate you with some thoughts about how you can celebrate this great moment in your children’s lives.  Here are 7 ideas to celebrate your child’s graduation—some we’ve done, a few that I’ve heard about and maybe a few I just made up but thought they sounded good 🙂 :

  1. PUT TOGETHER A DVD OF PICTURES AND SONGS THAT DEPICT THE MANY FACETS OF YOUR CHILDS CHARACTER. I’ve done this for our first two children and working on the one for our daughter this year.  I pour through “googleized” lists of songs that others have suggested for these kind of things and now have a lot of songs that I will share with you in another post.  I typically go way overboard on this and put together a DVD with a number of different slideshow arrangements.  But, you can keep it simple and still make it a powerful gift to give to family and your child.  We’ll sit down and watch it as a family when I’m done.
  2. CREATE A MEMORY BOOK OF PICTURES AND KEY WORDS. My wife has put together a memory book by going through years of old pictures and new digital ones.  We scan in the old to copy and use while printing the new.  Then, she uses various themes throughout by using different shapes, stenciled letter types and fabric or paper to make it interesting.
  3. HAVE KEY FAMILY AND FRIENDS WRITE A LETTER OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND ADVICE. Ask family and friends that have had an influence in your childs life to write a letter to them with words of encouragement by citing the character qualities they’ve observed in them.  Additionally, you can ask them to share a piece of advice or bible passage or story that might help guide your child into their upcoming unfamiliar steps.  As an added bonus you could put these letters into an album and give it to them as they head out to school or to their next adventure.
  4. EACH MEMBER OF THE FAMILY WRITES A TRIBUTE AND READS IT TO THE GRADUATE AT DINNER. Take your graduating child out to dinner with the entire family where each of you take turns reading letters to them (as they are able :)) about fun memories, things you’ll miss about them, things you won’t miss and some of the ways that he/she has impacted your life.  Make it fun and memorable.  Additionally, you can give them a special gift as a celebratory memory.
  5. ROAD TRIP. Map out a road trip for the summer between high school and college/job/?.  Make it a trip that might be themed after something that is geared for the graduates interests.  For instance, if she is into theme parks, consider driving to go to either one she’s always wanted to go to or take a “theme park tour” by hitting several over a 10-14 day stretch.  Or, if he loves baseball, consider a baseball tour or weekend event.  It might just be a camping outing if they love to camp and hike.  Whatever it is, make it about them.
  6. OPEN HOUSE. I grew up and lived most of my life in Minnesota.  An open house wasn’t an option, it was mandatory.  In fact, I had friends who would time the remodeling of their homes with the graduation of their children.   It is a way of life, at least in the metropolitan/suburban Twin Cities.  Since we’ve been in Arkansas, the idea of an open house seems to be catching on but has by no means been a “no brainer”.  So, if you live in a similar environment where you aren’t even sure what I mean by Open House, consider having one.  It can be a simple time of inviting friends and family over to your home, provide some simple refreshments, a large cake with congratulatory words and now digitally frosted photos and a home decorated with variously aged photos of the graduate placed around the home.
  7. YOUR IDEA HERE

I’d love to have you add to my list and give me the 7 ideas I promised.  What have you done for your high school graduate to celebrate this accomplishment?  What are you doing this year?  Can’t wait to add your idea to my list.

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