Betty J. Slade
It's graduation season: a time for fresh faces, bright eyes and young minds full of hope and ideas to venture out to new places beyond our little town of Pagosa Springs.
I remember the class of 1981. We watched as our first child received her high school diploma. The class song initially recorded by Barry Manilow said it best: "I made it through the rain. We dreamers have our ways, of facing raining days and somehow, we survive. We keep the feelings warm, protect them from the storm until our time arrives."
I held one hand on the door as our oldest child prepared to leave for Biola University in Southern California. I said to her, "If you haven't learned all that you need to know before now, I don't know what else to say." How many times would I replay that conversation in my head as our family sat at the dinner table with an empty chair. I felt like a mother hen with one of her chicks missing, but we had to let her go, do, be.
I can only imagine that my daughter felt the same way I had back in '81 as her own son left after high school. He, too, would attend and then graduate from Biola University. His first job after graduation was at LA Film School in Hollywood, California.
Teach our children young? We can only do our best. How on earth can we prepare a next generation as they walk in places where we have never walked? At 14, this grandson was directing and editing skateboard videos and laying down background tracks. He designed DVD jackets, produced collaterals and even held premieres.
From an early age even until now, there is certainly no shortage of drive, faith and talent in this young man. He has positioned himself for a career in the film industry and I find I'm asking myself, "Is he really equipped for Hollywood?"
Three years ago, my grandson asked if I would join a weekly video conference prayer group. Of course, I said, "Yes." The meetings are attended by several parents of children who are film students at Biola. We pray for guidance and direction as these young people pursue their senior projects and degrees. As my grandson continues with his career, he has the added burden of shopping his own film at independent film festivals. All I can think about is how my grandson may soon be rubbing elbows with the wolves of the world. I told my daughter, "Spencer (my grandson) must choose to be around people who share his same beliefs and values, so he's not eaten up by the ways of Hollywood."
She said to me, "God is in Hollywood, too. We just need to have a little more faith."
Final brushstroke: As parents (and grandparents), we know that we must let go of our children and watch them walk away as young adults. Yes, there will be an empty chair at the family dinner table. And if you are like me, you will ask yourself over and over if you did everything you could to teach your child all that you could. Fortunately, as the song goes, "I made it through the rain, I kept my world protected. I kept my point of view, and found myself respected, by the others who God rained on too and made it through."
Congratulations to the class of 2020.
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