Monday, May 12, 2014

Thoughts at a High School Graduation Ceremony - by Lily

Our whole family attended Justin's high school commencement at TAMS on May 9, 2014. Like any parents, we are incredibly proud of him. 

As the first child in the family, Justin is our “experiment”JHe is the first to get our full attention, to test our limit, patience, and strategy, to explore the education system. Raising him, We focused on education, on building character (honesty, kindness, justice, integrity, inner strength), on societal values (caring, contribution), and on achieving goals (driven, hard-working). I believe we have done a pretty good job together J.

It is hard being a child with strict parents, even harder with strict and highly educated parents like us. We’ve got plenty of my way or high way arguments along the way. But we always have his best interest in our hearts. We know he understands that because he has taken up pieces of advice here and there after all J.  A wise person learns not only from his own experiences but also from others. It is great to see him to make good use of that. Some education experts have said the most important thing to teach a child is resilience. So, pointing out the difficulties and his shortfalls may not be a bad thing J. He has taken some risks and challenges, and he charged on with his passion regardless of naysayers. Sometimes he succeeded while other times not, but he keeps moving forward. We truly admire his spirit and hope he will carry this spirit to explore the world when he starts the next stage of his life.

We have discussed the value of going to TAMS in light of the college admission result. Sure, result is part of it, but the experience he gained during the process matters more. Part of us wished he stayed home during the last two years, at least we would have helped him with more driving practice. At the same time, seeing him manage his work and life from a distance allowed us to appreciate him more. Justin has a big heart. Seeing the Susan G. Komen 5K run T-shirt on him and getting the phone call about blood donation made my heart swell. It was such a sweet surprise to see him volunteering at DRSEF and I told everyone I met there on that day J. He chose TAMS for better research opportunities. In addition to that, he also got opportunities to horn his organization and management skills. He has done a great job, and perhaps found his niche J. Knowing he can manage his study and balance his life is very reassuring for us.  Although he did not get accepted by his dream school, he has been accepted by top schools in his area of interest. We are glad that at the end he focused on the substance not just the so called “reputation”, and made the best choice for his college education. College is only a mile marker in one's journey of life, not the destination. Perhaps this point will be much better appreciated in a few years. 

We do feel comfortable that Justin will be able to make the right decisions and stay on course with his goals when he starts college. It takes sustained effort to reach one's goals in the course of life. Everyday effort makes a difference in the long run, so we hope that he can remember to focus the things he can do on a daily basis. At the same time, there are many ways to success, we hope that  he will carve out his own way.

Note: this post was adapted from a letter Lily wrote to Justin on the eve of the commencement

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