Merlisha Henderson: A Survival Kit for Young Adults After Graduation

It’s almost that time of year once again. GRADUATION! As parents, we all know that you will hear (and pay for) the “G” word from pre-school to grad school. There is just something about that high school and college graduation that really marks a point in the relationship that you have with your children.

Merlisha in her Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with iLevel

Senior year of your baby or your babies’ high school career is just as eye opening and wonderous for a parent as it is for a young adult. You have become the teacher, sensei, life coach, advisor and counselor to the child you brought home. You have taught and nurtured them for at least 18 years, as well as your family and friends. You have repetitively imparted lessons onto them when they were listening and not listening.

Before you release your offspring on an unsuspecting world, there are a few intangible skills that you must make available to them so they can survive and thrive in the months and years to come. The good habits, resources and common sense that you can drop into their toolkit serves in building a golden reputation and establishing a work ethic that shows in all that they accomplish.

Time Management

Time is one commodity that you can lose and not get back. It’s extremely valuable and it’s also one of the things that almost all people waste the most. It’s more than just being on time for work. It’s also using what time you have in an efficient way. The closer you get to the end of your schooling, the less time is spent in class. Knowing what to do with the increased amount of free time that they need to fill with equal parts fun and equal parts foundation building can keep them positioned to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.


As parents, we parrot the concept of being neat and tidy. We teach our young ones about cleaning their room or keeping their belongings and clothes where they can find them. I have begged and pleaded with my brood about the ritual and advantage of organization. Once you can explain importance of knowing where to find the things, you can teach them to use organization as a tool to bring order to the inevitable chaos that life can bring.


Teaching anybody a skill or way of thinking that everybody (including your kids) think is a no brainer to understand makes this tool underused and often neglected. Completion is the ability to complete an assignment, a program, a course, a bucket list or a master’s program. As adults, how many things do we start and forget about completing? What about an exercise regimen or a financial promise like paying off a credit account or school loans? It’s important to instill the concept of finishing what you start. You must learn to live with the regret that comes with not knowing how your life or situation would have been different had you had the foresight and dependability to not let yourself down by following through.

Just like a real tool kit, these attainable skills are constantly being added to and used in different new ways. You must constantly use these tools to stay sharp. Finally, what is the most important thing you can place in your children’s toolkit? Your love and support.

About Merlisha Henderson: Merlisha uses an Edge 3 Power Wheelchair for mobility and lives in Arizona with her family. As a wife, mother and disability advocate in her community, she stays active and independent, working toward bringing equality and access to all. Click here to learn more about Merlisha.

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