advice for graduating seniors

5 Things Your Kids Need to Hear Before Graduation

What do I really want her to know before she leaves? In short order, I’m going to have a high school graduate on my hands, and eventually, she’ll be at a university living on her own. My mind flashes back to her at 6 months old refusing to eat anything but apple sauce. Her big sister and I tried all kinds of antics to make smushed squash seem appealing.

Now, she’s a grown young woman, so mature, so beautiful, so smart. Still a picky eater. What does she really need to hear from me? Here are 5 things she and all kids need to hear before they graduate.

1. You are unconditionally loved.

Before our kids leave, we need to make certain they understand our love is forever.

In the coming years, all sorts of things are going to happen with our kids that we didn’t foresee, and our reactions as parents are critical. Do they understand that no matter what, they are unconditionally loved by their dad? Imagine the worst decisions they could make, and ask yourself if you’d still stand with them, even then. I certainly put my own father in that position when I was young. His answer to that question was, yes, he loves me, even then. Before our kids leave, we need to make certain they understand our love is forever.

2. Life will not be fair.

If we want something, we have to work hard for it, and even when we do that, we may not get exactly what we want. Fairness is an illusion. Here is the knowledge your children need to be armed with: Their character, or lack thereof, will be molded by how they react to the trials and adversity they face. We will be disappointed by life if all we seek is a fair outcome.

3. Guard your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” We are the sum total of what we love most, where we place our passions and assign our talents. Be careful with those choices. When you’ve discerned that it’s a good idea to give your heart to something, then give it. But understand your heart’s eternal value and guard it with great care.

4. Cherish the keepers.

The keepers are the people who come into our lives who understand, accept, respect, and value who we are, and help us become better people. That’s a keeper. Some of us only get a handful of these in life and others have a lot. Make sure to know the difference between real gold and fool’s gold. Keepers are priceless gems, and no one can go through this life successfully without them. Cherish them and treat them well.

5. Play it straight.

What is the right thing to do? That is a question people should be asking themselves on a daily basis. It’s easy to cheat, cut corners, and take advantage of others. Yet, is that the right (ethical) thing to do? Never stop examining the steps you are taking. Who gets trampled in the wake of what you do? A free society is dependent on the ethical values of its leaders and people. Play it straight.

Sound off:  What are some of the things you want to say to your kids before graduation day?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Has there ever been a time when I’ve made you feel unloved?”