What a great joy to see your son or daughter cross into the threshold of adulthood on high school graduation day. Yet at the same time inside your gut, it is welling up with fear and anxiety as they head off into the vast uncertain universe. Internal questions run amuck wondering if we screwed up as parents, or did we do all we could to help them be Standalone Ready?
About 40 years ago I can remember my own graduation day and how standing all alone made me feel like a total idiot as I alone came prepared for a dare that a whole gang of us vowed to do on graduation day. Already accomplished by others was stealing golf balls from the driving range and dumping them down the school hall stairs, toilet papering the homes of the teachers we disliked, and borrowing realtor for sale signs and strategically placing them in the front yard of the school grounds, and of course skipping the last day of school.
Our final plot was to disobey the graduation day dress code. We all were supposed to wear shorts, tank tops, and flip-flops under our gowns and strip down after the diplomas were handed out. We all laughed and joked how ticked off the principal and our parents would be, as they could do nothing about this really devious plot. With diplomas in hand, nothing could be done to punish us for it.
On the big day I drove to my friend’s house where we all planned to meet beforehand. When I walked in the door everyone was standing around looking in the mirrors helping one another put on their ties. Shoes were shined and the best ironed shirts and pants were pressed and ready to go underneath their graduation gowns. Time seemed to stop as they all turned and looked at me walking through the door with my Bob Marley tank top, camouflage shorts (the kind that were cut way shorter than they are nowadays), and my green flip-flops. Just like in the movie Carrie, they all laughed wondering how I did NOT get the memo, the plot was called off. Actually, they all had been busted by their parents and were told to put the clothes they were supposed to wear, ON.
Once again I was an idiot (seems like a similar story I told from middle school ) for thinking a bunch of boys joking and planning a sinister plot was nothing more than talk. Instead of standing up for what is right, they all decided to do nothing. o wait, in reality it was a pretty dumb plan and wasn’t standing up for squat. We were just teenage almost men that were not that deviant at all that were talking nonsense. Who would have cared if we had done it or not, maybe we would have gotten a laugh, but little else?
One thing it did teach me though; we must always be ready and willing to standalone, as there will be many times when there is no one to join us. My friends ultimately talked me out of the foolishness and let me borrow some clothes and rescued me from looking like a fool. But years later I use that moment of a bit of embarrassment that the world did not come crashing down, and it actually felt pretty good knowing I was ready to stand alone if need be.
Parents today are often accused of coddling and protecting their kids too much. In this society, that should not be over-scored. There is much to protect them from. Anyone following the latest bathroom fiasco created by politicians gone astray knows the dangers of letting a young girl go into a bathroom by herself in a shady part of town. Now rules are being forced down our throats making no place safe from predators. Yet there is an important balance to find in making sure our kids are prepared for what society will throw at them. Sometimes letting them look like an idiot is not such a bad thing. Often, it is our own fears that prevent us from allowing THEM to be bold that keep them back from the very things they need to grow out of fears.
My sons graduation day taught me much. He created a family slide show without asking for help, wrote his own bio, picked his own favorite quote for the program, drove to the school, almost put his own tie on, lol, and has decided on where he is going to school throwing aside all the peer pressure from what others were doing. And he created the picture I asked him to do standing on top of the world in 5 minutes.
It taught me despite how much of me is important in his life, (which is why I purposely and selfishly told a story of MY graduation) he is ready to tell his own stories and make his own life, he IS Standalone Ready!
The greatest example ever shown of what it is like to really standalone was none other than when Jesus was persecuted, prosecuted and tortured before dying on the cross. The saddest part though was that all his followers and disciples left him to standalone. Matthew 26 tells the story of him in the garden of Gethsemene when his brave followers fell asleep while he was in deep anguish knowing what was about to happen to him. Interesting to note, he was worried with great despair (hmmm, to those preachers teaching it is a ‘sin’ to worry, it seems that is rather false) and he ‘knew’ what was going to happen. God had told him in advance. My point being, worry is a part of life, and so is knowing God’s plan for our life.
There is no reason to fear being alone. God with supernatural abilities to know and tell what will happen in the future has already told those who believe in Him, He is with us and we have nothing to fear.
My kids and anyone who will listen likewise have nothing to fear in regards to our future, ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ (2 Timothy 1:7)
If that is true, if we believe it, then we know we are Standalone Ready!
Times will certainly come in our everyday lives where we sure feel left alone, abandoned, cheated, lied to, misled, and mistreated by people, just as Jesus was, but that does not mean we are ever left alone by God. The government can take away prayer from school, but it certainly can never take God from our children that are in school. It is what we as parents must teach them more than how to be a great athlete or good in school.
I can’t cover all of what that means in one blog post, but as a parent and one who has learned how to go with and without, I know that I know, that God is with me always. That is what I want my kids, co-workers, and all I come in contact with to learn more than anything, then we all can truly be Stand-Alone Ready!
I believe now more than ever we need to be. Our own little world in the US of A seems to be at its lowest point. Some may be called to standalone, are you worried, or ready?
“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. 7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.
8 “I tell you the truth, everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, the Son of Man will also acknowledge in the presence of God’s angels. 9 But anyone who denies me here on earth will be denied before God’s angels. 10 Anyone who speaks against the Son of Man can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
11 “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.”