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  • Writer's pictureAndi


This weekend I am in Los Angeles at my daughter’s MBA graduation. I am reflecting on all of the graduations for myself and my children over the years. I always viewed graduations as bittersweet because it meant that part of life was being left behind as we moved to the next phase. No matter how old we are, we remember our graduations as monumental times in our lives.

I am giggling thinking of my children’s preschool graduations. Their graduation hats were made from a plastic bowl worn on their heads and a piece of paper with their drawing glued to the top. We had a little ceremony and each child was called onto the stage to shake the hand of the principal and receive their diploma, which they had colored as well. I cried more at these graduations than I did at any of the others.

For me, what made this weekend’s graduation different and even more special, was that this accomplishment was on my daughter's own terms and she decided to take a Do Over to change the direction in her professional life.. This graduating class persevered through the entire pandemic, having to do the majority of their lectures and group projects online. This will always be part of her memory as she reflects on her time at UCLA. It was fascinating that some of her classmates only met in person for the first time at the graduation.

The Keynote speaker was Angela F. Williams, President and CEO of United Way Worldwide. Her message was powerful and just the right length of time to keep our attention. Her CV is incredibly extensive. I was impressed that one person could have all these career accomplishments, and then I thought she is just a woman like me. I was also inspired that with anything she could have spoken about, the message she chose was simple and directly in line with everything I share through Parent Do Overs each week. She spoke deliberately and slowly which emphasized the importance of her message (and allowed me to take notes). Below are the take-aways she wanted to leave with the graduates, but a good message for all of us.

  1. You are 1 of 1, so be the best you!

  2. Be your authentic self and learn to adapt to changes

  3. Lift others up as you climb

  4. Dream BIG and find your purpose through passion

  5. Bravery is contagious

  6. A setback is part of moving forward

  7. Shine your light ahead!

For parents: Children graduate week to week in the first few months of life.

As they get older we tend to focus on their academic milestones / graduations. It’s equally important to celebrate emotional growth accomplishments. Enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly as these experiences are what molds our children into adults. As children grow up, we parents have a tendency to lead our children vs walking alongside them. Below is the graduation message for parents.

  1. Allow your child to be 1 of 1. Learn who they are and parent accordingly.

  2. Allow your child to be their authentic selves and teach them resilience.

  3. Be a team player. Show your child that winning alone is not nearly as empowering as reaching a goal as a group.

  4. Don't be afraid to explore your own passion. Think big for yourself, and encourage your child to do the same to follow their passions.

  5. Teach your children that taking a risk is brave. Things that seem out of reach stay out of reach if we are not brave enough to go for them.

  6. As early as possible, teach children that setbacks are part of moving forward.

  7. Teach children to shine their light forward. It’s wasted energy to live in the past wondering what “should have”, “ could have”. It’s an illusion to assume that the other path would have provided the perfect outcome.

If any of the 7 points above resonate, it’s great that Do Overs are an option. If you need guidance in following one of all of the steps outlined above, I am here to help.


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