room on the edge

inspiration (+ a push)

The Joy of Receiving

I’m always going on about how our children are here to teach us, but even I was taken aback yesterday, when our eldest son, Hal, graduated at school.


Yes, he’s only six, not exactly an age that us northern Europeans associate with graduation, but here in Spain, they’re good at celebrating. Yesterday marked the end of his 3 years in ‘Infantil’ in preparation for the move up to the big school ‘Primera’ in September.

As is normal here, the whole event was wonderfully chaotic – as parents, we filed dutifully into a beautiful new classroom, where the chairs were laid out in neat, straight rows, inviting us to sit down in some sort of orderly fashion. There was a brief attempt at this by some of us, but when the children filed in to take their places on benches at the front, the overpowering need to digitally capture some special moments of the event took hold and we all took our places at the side of the room, jostling for our turns at the front of the pack clutching our various grades of cameras, videos and pdas.

Not one of the teachers batted an eyelid at such unruly behaviour- they ignored us beautifully and the ceremony, the transition from infanthood – playing at school – to childhood – proper learning at school began…

Each child was called in turn to come up to the front, to rapturous applause of course, to accept their gifts from their school – gifts to mark their rite of passage:

1.     A sash to wear with pride for the rest of the day. It read ‘Promocion 2006-2009’

2.     A scroll containing a Diploma – official recognition their achievement of 3 continuous years of attending school

3.     An envelope containing a photograph of their classmates and their teacher at the centre. Given the tragic event of their teacher, Juan’s death three weeks ago, for us, this was a very, very special gift. Juan surrounded by each of his students with a mortar board – graduating, each with their names below – transcending the temporary – frozen in time with a twinkle in his eye – just the way we want to remember him.

4.     A green and gold pen with the name of the school on it – a ‘souvenir’, something that ‘proves’ he was there

5.     A hug and a kiss from each of the teachers and even, or especially, the Director of the school, who’s retiring this year

Hal received these gifts graciously. There was no awkward self-consciousness, or protestations “ooh, no, I couldn’t possibly…”, or reluctance in coming forward to receive both the applause and the attention.

He’s been beaming a smile ever since. He’s pleased with himself. Proud. He’s celebrating his own achievements. Enjoying the moment… and something has shifted in him on a deep, profound level – he’s stepping into the next version of himself.

Hal Graduating

Hal has realized, recognized and most of all accepted change in himself – what a powerful ability! When was the last time you, with all your adult wisdom and knowing, did this?

When was the last time you celebrated an achievement – I don’t mean a quick toast with a glass of wine or a momentary pat on the back, I mean really celebrated with all your being, your whole self, with every cell of your amazing body joining in?

When was the last time you basked in the glow of your own success?

When was the last time you consciously noticed yourself step up to the next level of you?

When you next achieve something, however large or small that seems at the time, try following a younger generation’s example – celebrate it and experience the Joy of Receiving. Try moving all that normal stuff aside for a change – all your excuses, all your protestations and especially the nagging inner voice telling you whatever it normally does – “you’ll look stupid” or “you’re not worth it” or “you’re far too busy to stop for this nonsense”. Enough already!

Step 1: Simply respond with joy, pure joy… be in the moment

Step 2: Receive with grace… accept it all, take it all in, welcome what comes with an open heart

Step 3: Feel yourself Grow up a bit – step up to your next self with a smile on your outside and on your inside. 😉

Go on, you know you want to!


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