Saturday, June 08, 2013
Remarks Offered At The High School Graduation Ceremony Of A Home-Schooled Son
I can remember, distinctly, the last time my son held my hand when we crossed a busy street. It seems a very long time ago now. I remember it well, because at the time, it struck me as just that: The last time.
We caution our children to look both ways when they cross a street, in order that they can cross alone when the time comes. It’s just one of a million things we teach our children -- by word, a little, mostly by deed -- in the hope that it will be of some use to them when they’re older. It’s a terrible thing parents undertake, to teach your children to go away on their own, but we must do it if we are to be worthy to be called a parent.
My wife and I wanted our son to be an honest, productive, kind, intelligent, well-educated and friendly person before we sent him out into the world. We thought we could do that best by educating him at home. His mother worked very diligently at it for him, and his brother too, and I resolutely stood by her side, ready to accept any credit for anything that turned out all right.
By his intelligence and effort my son has made himself all those things I mentioned earlier, and more. He’s worked hard on his studies, and will continue to do so, of course. He didn’t just learn things – he learned how to learn things, which is better. In the process, my wife and I have watched those childish things we treasure disappear one after another: The charmingly mispronounced word; the unsteady walk; the impolitic question about that lady with the tattoos in the grocery store; the little hand in yours when you cross the street.
We’ve entirely ruined him for ourselves, and made him useful only for strangers. I hope you’re all happy. We’re miserable about the whole thing. We wouldn’t have it any other way.