The year 12’s graduated yesterday from the school that I run programs in. When we started the Organisation in 2005 they were only then, in year 9. Over the years I’ve done different programs with them at different times and got to know almost all of them in different capacities. Some I even know more than I care to know.
As we spent the day getting everything ready for the Graduation ceremony, I couldn’t help but being swept up by their excitement. It was almost palpable. It was great. After all the hard work was done, I bought them lunch and we sat down to relax.
It was so good to talk to them about their dreams and what they were expecting from their futures. Goals they had, and how they were going to achieve them. From doctors to lawyers and engineers, school teachers and beauticians and even house wives. Three of the girls are already engaged and will get married in the next year. In that little time I got to tell them the few things from my own experiences, the small lessons that I had learnt all in the hope that they don’t have to have some experiences to learn the lesson.
My girls who were getting married worried me the most because they are so young in so many ways. I wanted them to know that marriage is wonderful but that it takes alot of hard work and that they should be prepared for it. I needed them to know that romance isn’t everything. I don’t want them going in with unrealistic expectations of knight’s with shining armour. They need to know that men are human and all humans err. i wanted them to know that they still need dreams and aspirations and something that is just theirs for when their husbands are working and their children busy with their own life.
My girls starting uni, I wanted to tell them to enjoy every moment especially their first year. I told them to make sure they keep ahead of their studies but to find the time to wag lectures and hang out at the caf and just enjoy meeting new people.I told them to get involved in the MSA- It’s a good way to contribute to their community but also to make friends who are like minded who they’ll take with them through life. I wanted them to meet male friends but to remember the boundaries. It’s important to be able to interact with the opposite sex but know who you are and what you believe in.
Mostly I wanted to tell them that their life is what THEY make of it and so they must always choose the best. i wanted them to know that they had everything to be anything and everything they want to be and they each had the power to make their dreams come true.
My boys- aahhh the boys. i wanted them to know that one day they would each be responsible for families and what a priveledge that will be. That they have been created with strength and the capacity to take care of those around them and that they need to take up that responsibility. i wanted them to know how important it is to respect a woman, no matter who she is or what religion she is. It doesn’t mean ‘cos she isn’t muslim, you can do what you like ( even if she allows you). I needed them to realise that all actions are accountable for. I needed them to realise their potential of being the future of all Muslims and how awesome it would be if they took up the responsibility. I needed to stress how important it was for them to follow their dreams and not just become what they want but to strive to be the best at whatever they choose to be.
I don’t know what they took away from that, perhaps their excitement was too much, maybe they just thought I was abit nutty.
It was time for the ceremony and they donned their gowns and their caps and they looked beautiful. Parents came in and the pride was so obvious on their faces. In between running around seeing to things the students wanted and things that needed to be done, I put my hands together to clap for their achievments. Their hard work had finally paid off.
They made a small video as a goodbye to the school and i could’nt help getting choked up and teary eyed. They were going to leave us and leave the cocoon that school can be. Then came their vote of thanks and being included in that really did make my day. I realised that everyday we give these kids a little bit of us, of who we are and what we believe in. We try and give them the best of us in the hope that they become the best that they can be.
The moment they threw those caps in the air, i remember laughing through tears. It made me nostalgic for my own graduation gone by. This is our future- I just hope we’ve given them enough to make the most out of their lives.
When I said my goodbyes, I got to hug each one and I knew they would never really be lost to us, they’d always be kids in our eyes and we’ll follow their life as we always have and we’ll always be on the sidelines cheering them on.
CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2008!!! Mabrouk!!