School Board Members, Teachers, Honored Guests, Parents, and Seniors…
…many years ago (okay a little over two decades ago), I stood in front of a crowd on a hot humid day in Iowa.
I gave a commencement address to my fellow high school graduates and it was amazing…if I could remember it.
I’m sure I said things like “go out and change the world” and “it’s our time to rise!”
All good and appropriate exhaultations for such a time as that; however, today I stand before you as a mother of two of the Class of 2019 and I have a couple more ideas in mind…
Graduates, you have spent almost your entire life in school. Now what?
There are a lot of answers to that question and I hope you have had some really wonderful adults come beside you and help you find some answers.
Life is a strange, long, wonderful ride. The wonderful secret is that you don’t need to have all the answers…you just have to get to the next right choice.
Small steps in one direction will eventually lead you somewhere and if you find that you don’t like that path, start over. It sounds simple enough but it’s the implementation that can be tricky.
School actually has taught you many universal laws that you can use in the “real” world. Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it.
Physical Sciences: This was my favorite set of classes. The teachers were excellent and the experiments were interesting. We only needed the fire department once. Any science class should have taught you that basically our world is an amazing, beautiful, complicated, deadly, and simple place.
You hopefully got to observe her closely (cells and atoms) and you got to view her from afar (astronomy). If the planet we live on is that awe-inspiring, can you imagine how fantastic you as a member of this planet are? And all those around you?
As of 2019, we are all neighbors and we have only this one beautiful planet to call home so treat it and your fellow humans as such. And don’t take yourself too seriously…we are just a small marble in this galaxy.
Chemistry: Some things are just meant to go together and some things aren’t. The same is true with people, jobs, activities, et cetera. You have the instincts within you to know if you are in the right place or not…follow them.
Math: My favorite dreaded subject was math. I find “math” people fascinating and spectacular. Most problems—involving numbers, letters, or neither—are meant to have a solution but sometimes you have to get creative in order to find that solution. In other words, X can usually be solved for, but sometimes you need to get creative to find the answer.
Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division can all be used in many situations..not just numeric. You may need to ADD more vegetables in your diet to feel better or you many need to SUBTRACT a poor habit you picked up. You could MULTIPLY the good influences in your life while DIVIDING the amount of gaming you are doing each night.
Art: Art was never a subject I embraced because I got the impression it wouldn’t get me anywhere. I was so wrong. Art is the world. Or more appropriately, the world is art.
All shapes and sizes and colors can be seen, heard, felt, read, tasted and smelled. We all have a desire to create…we just all have different canvases. I never realized that writing was art and cooking was art. Landscaping and decorating are art. An expression of yourself is art. Now others may not like it or appreciate it or even “get” it but that’s the beauty of art…no one has to understand it if you do.
Finally, graduates, remember through all the bad days and the good days and the foggy days, we are here for you.
This jump from helpless baby to high school graduate has been a quick one and we may not be sure we provided you with all that we wanted you to know before you take off on your next journey.
Be kind to us. We are graduating with you. We are proud of you. We only want the best for you, regardless of all our flaws. And you can’t even imagine how much we love you.
Now, class of 2019, go out into this world, absorb all the knowledge you can, and lift all of humanity (or at least your little corner of the world) up a little. But be home by 10PM…midnight at the latest.