Mother's Corner

Graduation is just the beginning

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“Live out of your imagination instead of out of your memory.” ― Les Brown

As I was driving to the office a few weeks ago, I heard this quote and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I looked into my mini junk tray, grabbed a pen and a Post-it to write it down. Sitting in this cocoon of metal, I thought about the graduating senior class of 2019.

Many seniors have declared a major in college and many are not sure what they want to do after high school. There will be family flying and driving from all over into our fair city of Tracy this weekend to honor the accomplishments of their seniors. There will be hoops and hollas during the graduating ceremony even though there was an announcement asking the audience to withhold until after all graduates have been announced — not gonna happen. Cellphones will be beeping, pinging and ringing and someone will cry with joy as they cannot believe that this baby they birthed is getting ready to take this walk out of teenagerhood into the beginning stages of adulthood.

After the hoopla and the parties have concluded, a conversation with this senior should be had. Request that this graduated senior pop their head up long enough to look into your eyes and dialogue about next steps.

Graduating seniors need to understand that grades, accolades, disappointments, missteps, awards and failures do not define them. Remember that what they did or didn’t do in high school will come back to them in college and in life. Seniors have to pay the consequences and parents have to help but not cripple. Parents must stand in the gap as seniors naively believe that they have all the answers. Parents have to be the senior’s best champion sprinkled with reality that the seniors we see today may not always be right nor do right; however, parents love them, full stop. Parents struggle with how much is too much and how much is not enough. Seniors will learn that imagination is dreaming awake; it is walking on the outside of your body looking in. Imagination means that all things are possible. Imagination is what we see on a playground full of 4, 5 and 6 year olds as they talk to themselves, talk to a pretend friend, play games only they understand, laugh out loud at nothing and proclaim with righteousness that they will be a comedian, a gardener, an artist, a dancer.

Memory causes us to look back into ourselves and remember some feeling of joy or some feeling of disappointment and replay it over and over. Depending on the type of personality, this memory can impede growth and cause doubt or it can increase growth and reaffirm decisions.

Memory is in the past. Imagination is in the future. Parents teach seniors to live out of their imaginations instead of out of their memory, helping them to move from this memory and get them ready for the imagined next best thing. Seniors must be OK with what they imagine and understand that imagination will provide for them a life filled with possibilities and endless adventures.

Congratulations, senior class of 2019. It is done. Imagine.

Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mother. Her column appears monthly in the Tracy Press. Comments can be sent to

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