Jodi Rall

Dear Son,

What you don’t understand about graduation. While we are celebrating this milestone on your journey, it’s also a precious time for parents. One day, may you experience this overwhelming and powerful feeling. Only then will you understand the “parent perspective.”

My emotions upset you, frustrate you and leave us both confused. Why am I so emotional? Why does this graduation mean so much? And why am I making it about me not you? 

First, the emotions I’m feeling began the moment you came into this world. My gift from heaven, and I promised God that I would be faithful in raising you to be the man He intended you to be. Through ups and downs, laughter and tears, the past 18 years have flown by. Too quickly, I keep joking with you, “I have to stop blinking!”

Second, graduation means you have finished a giant milestone in your life. You are about to leap into the world and begin a whole new chapter. Except, this is where I must let you go. Am I afraid? Yes. Fear is probably the root cause of my emotions. My expression lately is simply, “I’m a hot mess, son.” 

Going to college is an exciting time, but it’s scary to think that you will be living far away from your family. My prayer is that I’ve taught you what you need to know to be successful on your journey. 

Graduation means a great deal to me because I’ve watched you through the highs and lows of school. I remember my own graduation and thinking I knew everything. Why were my own parents worried? Looking back, Nana and Pap had every reason to worry. But, they let me figure it out and become independent. And that’s what will happen with you. Have a peace that no matter where you go, or what you do, if you need me, dad or your siblings, we are with you.

As you prepared for baccalaureate, I knew you felt I was making it about me and yes, to some degree it is about me. I expect you to be the man I raised you to be. My job has been to make sure you had a spiritual path, excel where your strengths prevailed and nudge you where, and when you struggled. 

I take it deeply personal how each of my children conduct themselves in life, because you are my number one priority, other than your father and my faith.

Recently I was sitting in your room talking to you, and as I looked up and saw all your trophies from various sports, emotions filled my heart and mind more powerful than you can imagine. I truly hope one day you experience the deepest love you can imagine. I’ve prayed for all aspects of your life and one day, not any time soon, know you will be a great father, because of the example your own dad has set for you. 

Two last thoughts – first, it is OK to respectively disagree. There are always going to be people you don’t agree with. I expect you to listen respectively because the world is not black and white, there is a lot of gray in between. By listening to other’s opinions, you form your own and sometimes change your thoughts as you grow through different seasons of life.

Secondly, may you gather great wisdom as you begin your college journey. But, I’m not talking about test scores or grades. I’m referencing what Dr. Chappell preached about from the book of James. May you be wise and grow in wisdom and through your conduct. 

Now fly, soar high and know you will be prayed over every day.



Jodi Rall is a Brentwood resident, a writer and contributor for the Herald.

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