Backward Pictures: Take 2

Graduation: Up, up and Away!

Cynthia L. Eppley    05/28/2021


I realized when I wrote Backward Pictures (See Backward Pictures) that it was a large topic. As I’ve been rolling it around in my thoughts, I realized I had to break it into two sections.

For specific reasons.


When we look at pictures of our littles, we are filled with expectations and hopes for their futures. We look forward to their play and wild imaginations. “Let the Wild Rumpus Begin!” or “Let it Go! Let it Go!”

Either way, it is a special time of engaging in their growth and development. Perhaps we take so many photos so that we can capture it in time: If only we could!


I’m seeing so many pictures on Social Media of graduations.  Never mind if this year has been so very different; and the student may not have even been in a physical building! For so many it has been a hybrid of in class meetings or computer zoom. But when it comes time to graduate? We celebrate!


We have Pre-School graduation, and parents look on, beaming with pride. There is so very much ahead of them! Middle School is similar, with maturing vision and development. But then there is high school. So many experiences are before them. Different courses to try, electives, sports.  All of these things go into making them a well rounded individual.


Thus, High School graduation is distinctively different. The “child” is now a (very) young adult. They have the rudimentary skills to get a job. Their knowledge from all of High School has poured into this moment. The future is theirs!

What You Don’t Know

And off they go: “Oh, the places you’ll go!” There is a common phrase: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

“What you don’t know won’t hurt you. A dubious maxim: sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you very much.”  ― Margaret Atwood

or consider this:

“Ignorance is bliss.”

Parental View

And so these maxims ring true to us as parents. But the mind of a (very) young adult is not fully formed. And they attack life with gusto and bravado. Their enthusiasm is commendable, even if their wisdom is not always accurate. And therein lies the rub:

The ability to be a (very) young adult, without the maturity to always handle the requirements and consequences.

Letting Go

By this time, you are probably annoyed with my use of (very) young adult.

I am, as well. All of us would like to erase the “very” adjective. But they are in the “in-between” stage. We long to let them go into the world, anticipating their future. The pictures we take of graduation are very realistic now:

Their backs are to us, and as they walk away we realize they will come home from college changed. More mature. More experienced. (In many ways.)

They will come home…..different.

Letting Go Further

But then there are the College graduations. This is the youngster I taught in Sunday School. This is the daughter of my next door neighbor that I babysat. The little that was in my wedding as one of my flower girls.

On the way to get the diploma. Long years of work and dedication culminate in this moment of celebration. But we view it as not looking at the past, but looking at the future. Where will this degree take them?  What will the future be?                                        

Will she walk in the footsteps of her mother and become a nurse?                                            

This is just the beginning of their career! 

We rejoice with them as their future unfolds. Some will have a position awaiting. Others will travel far and wide to clinch the employment of their dreams.

Backward Pictures

So perhaps these are the pictures that are filled with the most angst and bittersweet joy. They will go away. They will come home for holidays or summer vacation. But they may not be home for dinner every night. Their phone conversations may be brief or lengthy. These are the ones who will have friends we have never met, and may very well be employed in positions that we do not even begin to understand.

Trust your Future

We send them on their way. We look at their backs and trust that the best is yet to come. They may not have housing or friends in their new locations. Some may travel across country; some may travel internationally. In our concern for them let us not forget:

“Never be afraid to trust your future to a Known God.”                                                               Corrie ten Boom

They may cause a wild rumpus where they go. As they fly away, we may have to sing to ourselves: “Let (them) go!”

But always, always, trusting in our Known God who holds them in the palm of His hand.

Published by Counseling from a Christian View

Counselor, Teacher, Wife, Mother and Grandmother. It is a privilege to serve God. All my roles have taught me more about God's grace and mercy. And all of life is counseling.

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