Doolin: Graduation, a time to reflect and to dream
By John Doolin May 29, 2012 9:48PM
Jonathon Doolin | Supplied photo
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:52PM
It seems like only yesterday we drove the side roads back from Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn with our baby boy. He was our first and that we were nervous was an understatement. There was no rule book for parenthood, and we realized, with some trepidation, that we’d have to wing it, or at least much of it.
People told us, “the time will fly,” and they were right. Next thing we knew, Jonathon was ready for kindergarten. All day? Half day? The great debate. My wife and I agreed to disagree, and the full-day session it was.
Jon was nervous about entering school, but I’m not sure he was more so than his mother or I. The night before his first day, we walked him to the school, peeked in the window of the classroom we thought was his, and Jonathon asked us, “You’ll drop me off right?” You’ll pick me up right? You think I will be OK?”
We reassured him that everything would be fine, and as we started to return home, a custodian came out, introduced himself and asked if he could be of help. I explained my son’s anxiety about his impending first day, and the custodian kindly offered to let us in to take a look at his classroom, which resulted in a less-anxious following day for all of us.
That school visit seems like only yesterday but was the beginning of an adventure for Jonathon — one that has involved numerous memories, friendships made and solidified and meeting many wonderful teachers and parents through elementary school and middle school, both for him and us.
It’s that time of year when families throughout the Southland celebrate the graduation of their sons or daughters from grade school on up through college. We like to call graduating from middle school the first phase of four, with high school being Phase II, college Phase III and life Phase IV.
Like most parents, we hope we have instilled in our son the values and guidance that will carry him well through each of these important stages. But ultimately, it’s up to him to learn from our direction and allow it to help him make the right choices as he becomes an adult and faces life’s many challenges.
I want to congratulate not only Jonathon but all of the graduates of the Class of 2012 at all Southland schools and colleges.
My wife and I thank Jon for his hard work and we’re proud of the young man he has become and the role model he is for his sister and brother. We look forward to watching him grow, both physically and academically, during his high school years.
To all members of the Class of 2012 throughout the Southland, know that your parents, siblings, family and the community are proud of you and your achievements. And you should be proud of the effort you have put forward to be able to walk across that stage into the next chapter of your life.
Regardless of what’s next, take the skills you’ve learned and the guidance you’ve received to continue to do well in school or beyond and try to make the world a better place.
You don’t have to be a straight A student or have some exceptional athletic or artistic talent to make a valuable contribution to your next school and community. You don’t have to cure cancer, design an auto engine that gets 50 mpg or write the Great American Novel.
Regular students and everyday people take thousands of small steps daily to help others and improve their schools, their workplaces, their neighborhoods, their towns.
Follow your heart and your dreams, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you want to do. Promise yourself that you’ll never stop learning or striving to improve. The sky really is the limit as long as you believe in yourself. Here’s hoping you go on to do great things.
John Doolin is an Oak Forest resident and South Division advertising director for Sun-Times Media.