We got the reminder text for seniors to pick up honor cords for qualifying GPA’s. I reminded my daughter to check if she qualified and then pick her’s up. She qualified. We were excited, I mean, who doesn’t want to parade across the stage at graduation blinged out in visual markers of all your hard work? It got me thinking though, what does it mean to graduate with honor? I wanted to celebrate honor in a different way. So, we purchased her an additional cord to wear or not wear if she chooses, to acknowledge she has honor and has honored her parents during high school. I want to celebrate her journey by celebrating her inner person as well as all the academics. So, we’ve bought it, and maybe she will wear them on that Tuesday graduation night, maybe not, but she’s getting them. She’s getting them from us because she has honored her Savior, her father and I, and herself during a time in her life when she could’ve chosen many destructive paths or stayed on paths that were unhealthy for her.
She signed our contract
We asked our daughter to sign a contract with us freshman year. Growing up my parents asked me to sign contracts with them about various things, so you do what you know, right? In this contract we asked her to choose her friends wisely, walking with the wise and not the foolish. We asked her to use technology for good and not destructive behavior. We asked her to invest time in her faith, and we asked her to be responsible with her academics. She signed it. I don’t know if she really knew what the full scope of it would look like. I’m certain she thought we were over the top, and we were. First kids always get the over the top parenting strategies. She’s our parental guinea pig. I admit it. In fact, I’m realizing as I write this we didn’t even do this contract with our next high schooler. This contract was just for her. If she did all the things on this contract, her stated rewards were increasing freedoms. The more she showed herself to be faithful in the main things, the more freedoms she would have.
She gave herself the gift of honor
Initially, we pictured this freedom to be the autonomy of her schedule, use of the family car and curfew, and she certainly has a lot of those freedoms, way more than I ever had. But as I look back over the four years of high school, I see she set herself up for freedom in her spirit. She has chosen paths that were not destructive to her body or future. She has made friends who were life-giving and supportive, ones she will enjoy for years to come. She now has freedom from the wrestling with herself over issues that would plague her as she pressed in, got help, and relooked at her life through new lenses. She has freedom from shame and guilt of doing things against her conscience. Although not perfect, of course, she has done well to graduate with HONOR. Her father and I asked her to do things differently than a lot of her peers, and she did. She honored us. We are so proud of her in this area, way more than because of her GPA or college acceptance letter.
I can’t wait to see her walk across that stage in her cap and gown wearing the academic honor cords draped around her neck, but mostly I will look at those cords and see her as my daughter, graduating with honor…the honor she has brought to herself, her faith, and her parents.