Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Change Commences

 com·mence·ment  (kə-mĕns′mənt)
1. A beginning; a start.
a. A ceremony at which academic degrees or diplomas are conferred.
b. The day on which such a ceremony occurs.
The caps and gowns were just pint-sized versions of the garb that older students would soon wear in this season of transition. Their faces were also a preview of their older compatriots: Some were solemn and cautious. Others were exuberant and carefree. And there was every reaction in between.

Our family had one of the serious preschool graduates from the K-State Center for Child Development. Thankfully, Kinley's class was the third of the classrooms to walk across the big stage toward Willie the Wildcat. She'd had time to watch her classmates interact with Willie and survive the encounter. When you're 5, Willie can seem a little overwhelming, even if he is on bended knee. 
When you think about it, graduation is a bit overwhelming - no matter the stage of life. It's all about change. While some people may embrace change, others of us struggle with it.

If you think about this grand ceremony as "graduation," it's all about ending something. It's kind of like that book you don't want to end. You're afraid the next one won't be quite as good.

If you think about it as "commencement," it's about new beginnings. And that can be a scary thing, too - whether you're a 5 year old who will enter kindergarten in a few months or a high school senior from a small town class of 15 going to a university where not "everyone knows your name." (That can be good and bad, I suppose.)

It can be scary for a college graduate, whether moving on to a graduate program or off to conquer a new job. Even scarier is the phase where you're still looking and worrying about finding that job or hearing from that next school. 

But we "old" people aren't immune either. Circumstances often force us to "graduate" or "commence" to a different stage of life - whether it's a newly empty nest, an illness or death, a job, a move or any number of situations in which we are searching for a new "normal."
But facing those changes is much easier with a support system. It's a lot easier to smile if you've got people protecting you and standing beside you in difficult or scary circumstances.
It's easier to face those transitions when you have cheerleaders, like parents and little sisters ...
... and grandparents ...
... and even uncles (who may "tweet" about questioning the "need" for preschool graduations but then get converted because of the cute pint-sized caps and gowns).
Before the ceremony, neither Kinley or Brooke would get their photo taken with the new Willie the Wildcat statue at K-State's Student Union. But after Kinley faced a living, breathing Willie, the statue was a whole lot easier (though it didn't matter to Brooke, who still kept her distance).

That's typical of change, isn't it? We dread it. We drag our feet. And sometimes, it transforms us to a better version of ourselves.
So here's to you, Kinley. May you commence to all the good things life has in store for you!
Same goes for your little sister!

Yesterday, Jill sent me an email of thoughts shared with Wheatland USD 292's 13 graduates by their Superintendent Gary Kraus. Kraus shared insight from Hal Urban's book, The 10 Commandments of Common Sense: Wisdom from the Scriptures for People of All Beliefs.

It seems the world today is sadly lacking in common sense, don't you think? Though these ideas may be a bit esoteric for a 5 year old and 2 year old, I hope their parents and we in their supporting cast can help these little girls to live their lives this way. It wouldn't hurt the rest of us either. I decided to include them for future reference - for me, as much as for them:

5 things we should avoid because they are bad for us:

1.          Don’t be seduced by popular culture; it prevents you from thinking for yourself.

2.          Don’t fall in love with money and possessions; it will make you greedy and shallow.

3.          Don’t use destructive language; it hurts others as well as yourself.

4.          Don’t judge other people; it’s better to work on your own faults.

5.          Don’t let anger get out of control; it can wreck relationships and ruin lives.
5 things we should do because they are good for us:
6.          Keep a positive outlook on life; it’s the first step toward joy.

7.          Bring out the best in other people; it’s better to build them up than tear them down.

8.          Have impeccable integrity; it brings peace of mind and a reputation of honor.

9.          Help those in need; it really is better to give than to receive.

10.     Do everything in love; it’s the only way to find true peace and fulfillment.


  1. Kim,
    I love your thoughts on life! Thank your for sharing your wisdom and insight. I'm sure your outlook is greatly appreciated by your adult children and enriched by your grandkids.

    How lucky your kids and grands are to have you and Randy able to be an active part of their lives. I see the same with J's folks and his sister's family. It warms my heart to see my in-laws as Grandparents. I also enjoy hearing Mom and Dad fill me in on Sister and her little guy.

    Enjoy the special moments you have with your family!

    1. Though it would be great to have them 2 miles down the road like my kids had with my in-laws, we are so fortunate to be less than 3 hours away. We are really enjoying having Jill's family and Brent in the same town these days, especially when that town is Manhattan. My parents also get more of a chance to pop in for a short visit now that Jill's family is there.