The season of spring fever is in full bloom and if you have children at home, you know what I mean. Their energy, which already seems boundless, is somehow increasing. Clothing attire is changing and shorts are coming out. Additional sunshine leads to them not being as sleepy. We all seem happier. Unless of course our allergies are in full bloom and then we might simply be sneezy. Excitement is building as the end of the school year is coming. They have completed another year and for some, they are graduating and moving on to the next stage of life.
Graduating from a grade, high school, or college is an incredibly meaningful experience. It is an achievement and it doesn’t come without being earned. Graduation is the result of achieving a goal. That is really what completing anything is; the achievement of a goal. It could be running a marathon, losing weight, getting a promotion, cleaning the closet or painting a room. It is important for all of us as people to complete things.
What do we complete?
We complete the things that we are most focused on. For those who are graduating high school or college next month, regardless of the reason they finished, it took willpower, patience, discipline, and focus. Now, like anything we are trying to complete, there are times when our interests wane, we lose focus, and we just feel like quitting. Who didn’t feel like tapping out in the middle of chemistry?!
Finishing something that we have set out to do is extremely satisfying and enjoyable. It also becomes a source of confidence that we can build upon. Anytime your child finishes anything, it is creating a habit. Finishing a homework assignment is a small picture of passing a class, which is a part of the completing a grade, which leads to graduating. We stack successes all the time.
There are numerous examples besides just school. For those of us who set exercise goals like running a marathon, you cannot begin to run 26.2 miles if you cannot run 1 mile. Improvement comes from a belief, confidence, that you can achieve something. The point is, success comes from a completion. When we stack successes, we gain confidence that we can improve, do better next time, and we begin to realize that part of our satisfaction in life comes from growth. But growth does not come without effort.
It’s not always easy
Seeing things through to the end is not always easy. There are obstacles, hurdles, and depending on our age, a lot of balls that we seem to think we always have to juggle or balance. Your children feel the same way as you do, they just have different balls or areas of their life to balance. When they are in kindergarten, the numbers of things they have to worry about are few. As they are in high school and nearing graduation, they might be worried about what college they are going to attend or what job they are going to do. In one way or another, they are moving on with their life, shaping their own identity, and the truth of it is that the unknown can be frightening. It is not always easy.
As parents, one of our roles is to teach our children that completing things builds habits in their lives, that larger success cannot come without smaller wins. If you have ever dieted, you know this to be true. You cannot lose ten pounds without first stepping on the scale, identifying the goal, and taking action. You gain confidence when you see your effort changing the number that you read. The more change you see, the more determined you are to achieve the goal. Sometimes it feels simply easier to quit. Seeing things to the end, or as the Apostle Paul wrote; “yet one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
As we attend graduations, know of those graduating, or anyone completing something, it is important that we celebrate the wins along the way. Victory comes from looking ahead and reaching forward. With goals come growth and the ultimate prize is completion. When Jesus cried on the cross, “it is finished, the ultimate completion was gained. It was not easy, it came at a great cost, but oh the prize!
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