I cannot give just one graduation tribute to one adult child, I have to give four because they are all successful adults who took different paths in their life to reach the success they obtained today.
Jeff was the first of the four children to leave home. Jeff knew early in his life, before we did that Jackson was not for him and he needed to find roots in another state. First to Florida for one year of college and then back home and to Grand Rapids. This broke my heart to have him so far from home, but nothing could hold Jeff down, as he is a go-getter.
After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Cornerstone College in Grand Rapids he decided to move to Philadelphia, where more doors of opportunity would open for him, and he chose Eastern College to earn his Master’s Degree in Psychology. He knew no one when he first moved to Philadelphia. Jeff, for many years lived on a shoestring budget and this again broke my heart, because there was not a whole lot we could do to help him in his new life.
He still lives in Philadelphia with his wife he married in 2013 and has a circle of supporting, caring and wonderful friends. He is a successful businessperson, therapist and now assistant director at a mental health company in Philadelphia.
I pay tribute this 2014, for the way Jeff learned how to manage his money, his life and set goals and go after those goals. His decisions were sound decisions. I am sure there are some things he would say he would have done differently, but life is a learning process and he has done exceedingly well. The success he has obtained shows in every aspect of his personal and business life.
It took Brian a while to find out what he wanted in life, what career path he wants to take. It takes some people longer to make decisions of this type and they have to try things out and determine if it is right for them.
It was not until Brian was in his late 30’s that he decided that in order to make a good living one must be educated in their chosen career path and it was then that he decided he wanted to get into the field of Criminology.
Brian is also paying for his own education, as we could not do it. Granted he is living at home and working part-time, going to school full-time and is helping his dad and I around the house all he can.
He has been very successful and on the Dean’s List several times. He has one more year and he will obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology. The last six months he will be training at a police post, work as law enforcement officer for two years, before he is able actually to get into crime scene investigations.
Brian has grown tremendously and his decisions are much sounder. He has decided what goals he wants in life and has not swayed away from this law enforcement career.
Our daughter married before she decided to go to college and earn her Associates in Business. She paid for this degree on her own with no help from her parents. It was not until she had two children that she decided to go back to school and follow in her mother’s footsteps to get her nursing career off the ground. She decided to obtain her license in Practical Nursing. She graduated in 2012, and is now looking at her options for obtaining her Registered Nursing Degree.
We have no doubt that she will achieve any goals she sets in her life. She has paid for her schooling on her own plus has two small children. Dawn puts a lot of thought into what she wants to do in life. She weighs the pros and cons and then goes after whatever it is she wants to grab a hold.
She is also using her business degree to create a line of personal care products for women and a small product line for men. She is making all her own products from natural ingredients and already has a line of testers. I am proud of Dawn for her decision-making capabilities and her enthusiasm to go after what she wants in life. Dawn is a great businessperson and nurse and will be successful in anything she puts her mind to doing.
Even though Tommy is not really our child, we call him “Our adopted son”. We have known Tommy since third grade and he was our son Brian’s best friend. Tommy’s parents were divorced and did not know what to do with this young man, as he was quite a challenge, which is why he was at our home so much of the time. But, neither my husband or I had a clue on how to make Tommy behave. I had a nickname for Tommy many years ago, “Little Wheezel.”
Tommy joined the Navy soon after high school. Even though Tom decided not to go to college that decision was all right with us because Tom is an entrepreneur at heart. Several years ago, Tom and a friend had an idea for a company and flew with the idea. Tom made a success out of this business. He just celebrated another year of business success.
He is also married to a wonderful Christian woman who recently received her Master’s Degree in teaching. Tom has two twin boys who are teenagers and a stepdaughter who is a teenager.
Tom’s decision-making abilities in his growing up years were probably like our own children and needed a lot of improvement. Better decision making abilities comes from living and learning what life is all about and Tom learned a bit later then some. However he is on a wonderful pathway now and we are proud of what is has become and how he has handled his life.
Overwhelmed with Pride
I (and dad) are very proud of all four of these adult children and pay tribute to each one for what they have become and how they have handled their lives. I am sure that they are also learning as we continue to do and will do, until we take our last breath.
What Our Children Taught Us as Parents
What we have learned most of all from our children is, we cannot not teach our children not to make mistakes. As parents, we want them to make decisions as we would have them made. But, children really do want to live their own lives and make their own mistakes and this is hard for parents who can see some of these decisions are wrong. Mistakes are self-evident and are bound to happen. Kids must make their own mistakes and learn by them. I have to admit that none of these children has done too badly at all, they are making their lives count and a parent I and their dad could ask for no more. We are swollen with pride with each of these adult children and their accomplishments.
References via Personal Experience