This weekend is a time that we are honoring the class of 2016. My niece graduated from High School, so we became part of the sea of people sitting in football stadiums waiting for our special person’s name to be called.
I have to admit, watching people with bouquets of balloons and poster board signs made me a little disappointed in myself that I hadn’t thought to do something similar. (Make a mental note for next time)
The National Anthem was sung, the obligatory speeches completed, and special staff were honored. Finally the time had arrived for the Graduates to be honored as they took their final High School walk.
An odd thing happened though as they called the names. I thought it was an accident at first, but when it happened a second and third time, I realized it was very intentional.
Quite often, a name called coincided with a huge balloon bouquet being released into the air. Bouquet after bouquet was released. Then, a group of doves were released. More names, more balloons, and more doves.
To be honest, at first, all I could think of was how much money they just released in to the air for no good reason and what the impact might have on our ecosystem and wild animals. I felt sorry for the poor doves that were thrust into the brightness of the stadium lights. They looked confused and struggled to find direction.
The parents releasing or letting go of the balloons and doves was symbolic of what they were doing with their children that night…Letting go.
As I looked at the balloons and doves, I had a new perspective. Some balloons were released in bundles and traveled high and far fairly quickly, seeming to keep a straight path.
Some balloons seemed to just stall out. Some didn’t have enough helium in them to get lift and sluggishly hung low, eventually settling
not too far from the person who launched them.
Other balloons were alone or in small groups and either floated around playfully as they slowing climbed in distance and height.
The doves, on the other hand were a disaster. They had no sense of direction and rose and fell, spinning one way then quickly changing course. I honestly thought they were going to injure themselves during their chaotic and erratic response as they were flung out of the security and comfort of their boxes.
Watching these multiple paths, directions, and courses of balloons and birds, I could see where they were a reflection of what the graduates paths would be.
Some would set a straight course and travel far and high in life. Others would playfully meander and stay close to their launch place. Sadly others will flounder chaotically as they are thrust into a world that is confusing and overwhelming to them.
“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”, Proverbs 22:6, NLT
It doesn’t mean our children won’t waiver or struggle. They will undoubtedly flounder and make mistakes that alter their course causing them to adjust and regroup.
If we have done our due diligence as parents and trained them in the ways of the Lord as well as taught them how to seek God’s plan and path for their life, they will not stay on wayward paths forever. That is a hope parents can cling to even though the child still has free will to participate with God’s plan or reject it.
For parents who may be looking back over the years of raising their children and wishing they would have (or could have) done things
differently. God is a loving Father and has the ability to redeem our shortcomings as parents.
Don’t be discouraged. As we release our children into adulthood, we are not releasing them to a mean and cruel world to fend for themselves. We are releasing them into the hands of God to live out their own unique purpose and life. They cannot do that effectively if we hold on to them.
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