This weekend has been a special one for my family. My oldest son is graduating from high school and he and his classmates are getting ready to take the big leap forward into the next stages of their lives.
I moved to Massachusetts almost ten years ago and my son has had most of his formative experiences here. His graduation is a genuine milestone in his life and in ours. Next year he'll be away from us at college and life will be different for us, his parents, and for his younger brother. But for now, we are all still together and are very proud of how our oldest son has developed into a unique individual who is ready to take this next step.
Modern life passes by too quickly and we are often in too much of a rush to get to the next place. But when good things happen, we cheat ourselves and our loved ones if we don't take the time to celebrate, both the large triumphs and the small ones. So the theme of the past few weeks for our family has been celebration -- of my son's graduation and looking back with pride on extracurricular activities such as his scouting career, which culiminated at a high point with an amazing hiking trip at the Philmont Ranch in New Mexico and with the attainment of the rank of Eagle Scout.
Last weekend, the council in Southeast Massachusetts had a dinner for all of the Eagle scouts from the past year, commemorating their achievement. I was privileged to be there with my son and hear each scout talk about their Eagle scout projects. We hear a lot of bad news about young people, but there was none of that here. Each Eagle scout project involves community service and typically has the scout leading a team of other scouts -- not to mention family and friends -- on an approved project whose cumumulative hours usually exceed one hundred.
My son's project was no exception. He and the other scouts ripped out overgrown shrubbery in front of our local church, then totally re-did the landscaping by planting new shrubs and laying a bed of mulch. Like in real life, the goal line moved a couple of times, but my son kept at it until the church's board of trustees signed off. My son did many other things in his high school career after the Eagle project, but the lessons of working hard and leading creatively permeated much of what followed. So, this weekend is all about celebration and rites of passage. Soon enough the new adventure will begin.