Where does the time go? Yes, it is a rhetorical question, but seriously, sometimes I feel as if I need time to slow down or maybe even outright pause just enough so I can catch my breath. It seems as if just a few short weeks ago, we wished each other Happy New Year, and now we are in April and quickly zooming into May. Before you know it, we will be in the dog days of summer, looking for the next pool or body of water to cool off.
To let you in on a bit of my process when putting this paper together, the "Editor's Chair" section is one of the last I write. After all of the other stories have been completed and the layout is pretty much done, I take a step back and take stock of what I am thinking and how I am feeling. As you read this section, think of it as a snapshot in time. For example, the current events of today include the war in Ukraine, high gas prices, and of course, the infamous "slap around the world" involving Will Smith and Chris Rock at the Oscars. However, what is occupying my mind is graduation. That's right, in a few short weeks, we will be attending graduation ceremonies for friends and loved ones taking their next step. For me, that means my son Christian, a senior in high school, will be "crossing the stage" and taking his talents to a college yet to be determined. So again, I ask, where does the time go? I can clearly remember when he was four years old, taking him to sit in the parking lot of his daycare so he could become aware that he was going to begin "big boy" school. Fast forward 15 years, and in the last month, we have visited four colleges in three states (Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) to find a school setting that checks the boxes on his list. With my daughter Madison wrapping up her junior year of college, I can officially be considered an "empty nester"! How strange. I am excited and nervous for Christian as he embarks on his new journey. As the "baby" (now ironically the biggest in size) in the family, he has always had someone to do something for him. This next stage in his life will require a level of personal growth which will be great for him. Of course, as a father, it has me questioning did I do all I could to prepare him for what is to come. He (and Madison) thus far have lived a somewhat sheltered life - free from many of the trauma and obstacles that other peers their age have had to face.
I often tell my children that I can better connect with them now because I can remember being 18 and 21 (their current ages), what my state of mind was and what motivated me. In comparing my experience at their ages, I find it completely different. I was so focused on being successful, making a name for myself, and making my parents proud that I didn't let too many things take away from that goal. I am now in the proverbial battle of "letting them go" to forge their own paths while still trying to guide them. I don't think that ever changes as I still have that kind of relationship with my parents.
Anyone who really knows me knows how I feel about my children. I am motivated to set an example of what hard work and dedication looks like. I want them to know that nothing in this world is a substitute for hard work. I mentioned that my Dad was my first hero in a previous issue. I am not sure if they would say the same about me, but I hope they at least realize that I tried to lead by example to be the best that I could be. So to all the upcoming graduates, I say "congratulations"!
Be sure to take the time to celebrate your accomplishment!