Will you help us recover from a Joy hangover?

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Ben Batz, Magna Cum Laude, Gustavus Class of 2012, with Mom and Dad

This past Sunday my son, Benjamin Paul Batz, graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College. What joy! Ben is our first child…our first to earn the gold coin and pass “Go.” Just as fine champagne livens up the party…the hangover the next day causes appropriate self-reflection.

This morning, Ben’s mother and I are realizing the gold coin has two sides — one side is bright and shiny, and the other a shadow. The shiny side reflects our feelings of pride, success and satisfaction. Pride: he is befriended by many and left his mark on the college. Success: our son who always questioned his capabilities as a student, graduated Magna Cum Laude!  Satisfied: he is prepared and eager to improve the world.

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Ben, with sisters Anna (left) and Katie, who will be a Gustavus graduate next year

In the shadow, we are finding emotions of mild shock and sadness.  Shock: how is it possible these four years of college went so fast?  “It goes so fast,” is the ultimate, all-too-often repeated parenting cliche.  Damn it’s true!…even if it’s easy to explain. Over the past four years, we’ve been busy growing a business, investing in our community, building friendships, traveling and enjoying parenting.  We don’t take the time to count the days, we only notice when the milestones race by.  College graduation is a biggie.

And we’re slightly sad: we will miss his concerts and pizza with his buddies — his friends are our friends too.  And we will miss the sense of safety and security — both physical and emotional — that comes from being fully woven into a small college community.  It’s probably our sense of safety and security we are mourning.

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All packed up at 7:30AM the day after graduation

And maybe we’re feeling a little injustice — we poured our hearts into raising a strong, respectful, magnetic child…and our reward?  He left us again!  Go figure.  Less than 24 hours after his graduation ceremony, we put him on a plane for Flathead Lutheran Bible Camp in Kalispell, Montana.  (We’re home unloading his stuff, and he’s sunbathing in the west valley of Glacier National Park.)

One of my mentors freely offers this phrase about his role as a leader and a parent: “It just keeps getting better.”  Today, I’m trusting that he’s right. Because at the moment it’s a spaghetti bowl of emotions: proud, successful, shocked, sad, satisfied…and hungover from so much joy.

Good leaders accept the conflicting emotions of the important moments in our personal and professional lives.  And we expect things will just keep getting better.

Drop me a note if you know what I’m talking about…or if you have an antidote for our Joy hangover.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

2 Comments

  1. Gough on May 30, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    We share you joy and pain!



  2. Gough on May 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    We share you joy and pain!



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