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Dianne Harman Headshot

Nothing Like Feeling Special!

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One of the most difficult things about getting older is resisting the urge to say things like, "we didn't do it that way or we weren't allowed to dress that way." The one I really remember from my childhood is: "I wonder what they'll have to look forward to." If and when I say it, and believe me I try not to, I sound just like my mother -- and didn't we all swear we would never say the things our mothers said? Right!

What brings all of this to mind is attending our granddaughter's recent graduation from "preschool." Yup, you read it right -- preschool. Some of the parents brought bouquets of red roses and balloons and all of the "graduates" wore mortar boards. I would be the first to say it was adorable. Little pre-kindergartners singing songs and receiving their "diplomas" -- what's not to love? Their teachers related their favorite foods and what they wanted to be when they grew up. Our granddaughter said she wanted to be a veterinarian.

I've forgotten when I wanted to be when I was in nursery school (probably a nurse or a teacher because those were the only "acceptable" professions for girls to aspire to then). There was no ceremony for me or teacher telling a class of parents and grandparents my future dreams. Maybe there should have been because there's no denying that it was charming and the children were delightful.

The whole time I sat in the little chair (and some of the spectators were having a bit of a problem getting their bulk into the little preschoolers' chairs) in the back of my mind I could hear my mother's voice, "wonder what they'll have to look forward to." I have to admit, there is something there. One part of me thinks it's charming and the other part of me wonders if these children will be jaded by the time their graduation from high school comes around. Who knows -- they may go through so many graduations by then that it won't be a big deal and they may even opt out of it.

My thinking has pretty much come full circle. Even though we didn't do it when we were young and my children didn't "graduate" from preschool, they just went on to kindergarten. But a ceremony like that had to make each child who received their "diploma" feel special. And that's a good thing. There will be plenty of things that will happen in the future that will lead each of them at times to doubt their "self-worth." That's pretty much a given based on my observances over a long life. So if they are able to go into those situations with a strong sense of self-worth, although I'm not a psychologist, I feel certain it would help them deal with whatever arises.

They had their special day. For one day, each one of them was "a star." As we get older and are knocked about a bit by life, wouldn't we all love to have a day where we're "special?" I think we all could use one. So what if these young people have several special days? I imagine there will be graduations from elementary school, middle school, high school, and perhaps college and maybe more. Each one of these days will be a special day for them. As they get older, they'll remember them and I can't help but think that just for a moment they may be able to recreate the special feeling they had that day.

My generation only had a few special days. We remember graduating from high school, college, and getting married. Those were special days. Sure, there were several others and for all of us they're different. Some remember the birth of their first child as being special and for others it may have been a coveted job. The list is endless, depending on what's important to each of us.

I've concluded that if we can do things to make our children feel special from an early age, not just at age 17 or 18 when they graduate from high school, then we're doing something very positive for the future generation. Things may not have been done that way in the past, but maybe they should have been.

And maybe each of us should create our own special day. I can decree a day as the special Dianne Harman Day. Why not? I could have a party and just like they do at Celebrations of Life, I would have everyone say something nice about me. I've always thought there should be a Celebration of Life while the person is still living and can hear all the positive things people would say about them. Yup, I've just decided to create my special day Dianne Harman Day and you?