Passing the Baton

By: Marcy Barthelette
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 (NIV)
Everywhere I’ve turned in recent weeks I’ve seen caps and gowns and heard congratulations being offered. It’s so refreshing seeing all those smiling faces who get to celebrate their accomplishments, unlike the classes of 2020. We had one of those students who graduated from college last year with little fanfare.
This year’s graduation season began with our granddaughter, and youngest grandchild, making the move from elementary to middle school as she becomes a fifth grader. There is a lot of excitement and no small measure of apprehension. She knows she will not be the top dog anymore. It’s back to the bottom of the heap again. But she’s pleased that she gets to change classes all day, just like the big kids. There’s always a trade-off.
Then I recently received a text from an Aldersgate friend showing off two grandsons all decked out in caps and gowns for their college graduation ceremonies from two different schools and a granddaughter covered in Nixa red for her high school graduation.
Graduation ceremonies of all sorts, here in the Ozarks and around the country have been making the news cycles and everyone is more than ready to participate in the party.
And how about that double class of Aldersgate confirmands from 2020 and 2021, who completed their studies and on Sunday, May 23, made their public commitment to Jesus. No caps and gowns for them, they were dripping with the baptismal water that signified the beginning of their Christian journey. How wonderful it is to see all those fresh young faces excited to become closer to the Lord.
All of our graduating students have faced challenges, whether at school or at church, that others have never encountered before. And they have triumphed! Their parents have also seen challenges and the greatest may be still to come …. letting go. The son or daughter is filled with the anticipation of taking flight, of embarking on a new adventure. But Mom and Dad may be dreading the quiet house, the empty chair at the table, the room that will only be occupied on breaks or vacations, the absence of those serious discussions and silly antics that now are only sweet memories. The thing is, we raise our kids to be independent and it’s their turn now to begin taking on the world they will share with others for many decades. Hopefully, we’ve given them the tools they need to succeed as Christians in a world where Christianity is not necessarily the cool thing to uphold.
He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. Daniel 2: 21 (NIV)
Right now, as one class celebrates moving on, another is preparing to buckle down for that final year of high school or college. While one class is preparing to furnish a dorm room or go in search of a job in the real world, another class is gearing up for college entrance exams, senior sports, and proms or job interviews, relocating to new homes, and beginning adult life. The seasons progress and each of us moves on with an end goal in mind. Whatever their life’s work may be, may the goal of all our graduates be a life of service to others and love for fellow man, and may they find themselves always nestled in the arms of God. As for the families left behind, perhaps they can learn to view this time as a sort of “changing of the guard” or “passing of the baton”. Relax parents, and enjoy this time you’ve been given to become reacquainted with one another and indulge in projects left behind during all those child-rearing years. You may even find you like retirement. And never fear, they always know where home is.
Congrats Grads and Congrats Moms & Dads! Enjoy your future!

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