As I was talking to people in the halls over the last couple of days, and when I actually sat down to write this, I was unsure about how to even start. Each and everyone one of us has had a different and unique experience with our parents while growing up. Regardless of our childhood or relationship with our parents I think there are still many things that remain the same. So to my parents, and to all the parents on behalf of the graduates in this room, this is my attempt to say “thank you”.
As we began kindergarten, you helped us pick out the new outfits, those velcro sneakers that often had awesome lights. You tediously labeled all of our school supplies, and packed our lunches. From the very first day that you dropped us off, you watched us as we slowly gained our independence. We learned how to read and write, upgraded to shoes with laces instead of Velcro and proudly picked out our own first-day-of school outfits. Then you watched as we walked or biked and eventually drove ourselves to school. You started to drop us off for “playdates” without coming in to share a coffee with our friends’ parents in the kitchen and then eventually we drove ourselves to gatherings with friends.
While in elementary school we often brought home our spelling lists, picture books, and our times tables that you helped us with each night. Eventually, there came a time when our math homework was more complex than times tables, which meant that you may have been unable to help us with our homework. But even though this was often the case, thank you for helping us study, or finish that midterm project late into the night, without mentioning the painful reality that we had procrastinated way too long.
Thank you too, for creating a place that we can explore our faith, both in school and at home. I’m sure there have been many conversations, and maybe even some healthy debates, within the home environment, regarding the information we learned in Christian ethics, Mennonite History, World Religions, in chapel, or at church. In unique ways this school and the home environment have allowed these discussions to further our growth and understandings of our own personal faith journeys.
To all those sports parents, thank you for picking us up from a game or practice 6 nights out of 7, driving us to those early morning games on a Saturday, and spending your nights and weekends sitting on the uncomfortable bleachers as you celebrated our victories, and attempted to make us feel better about our losses. At times, I think you got more intense in games then we did, arguing with the ref and cheering us on. From TimBit soccer, or little league baseball, to the varsity or sometimes even the provincial team, thank you for nurturing our love of sports.
As we entered into our last years of high school, thank you for giving us more freedom, even when it meant that we made mistakes, picking us up from parties late at night, and encouraging us to keep ploughing through these last few months of high school, even though the words “just a couple more months” were not always what we wanted to hear.
I think its reasonable to say that we often got frustrated with you and that you also got frustrated with us. But without you being there to make sure we got up each morning for school, helping us through new, exciting and difficult learning experiences, and listening to our fears and anxieties as we tried, and continue to try, to figure out our futures, it probably would have been harder to get to this last day of school.
Over the next couple of years if we don’t move out right away, please consider it a compliment to the home-cooked meals, free laundry and the comfort of the home environment that you have helped create. This also accompanies the fact that we might not quite be ready to face the expenses of living on our own. As we travel or go to school, our houses will hopefully remain our home base.
So parents, thank you for everything that you have done, and will continue to do for us, whether we realize it yet or not, as we enter this new stage in our lives.
by Joya Reynar (’15)