June 02, 2010 This Sunday and next, one door will close and another will open wide for hundreds of young people in the Tri-City area as they bid farewell to high school and venture out into our ever-changing world.
What can we say to these graduates that hasn't been said at commencement exercises time and again? 'Bright futures,' 'unlimited possibilities,' 'follow your dreams,' 'believe in yourself.' All of that and more has been and will be said to them dozens of times before they head out the door and into a new, somewhat precarious world of choices and new-found freedom which brings with it the great weight of personal responsibility and commitment to the future.
The thing about cliches is they become such because they are generally true—spoken time and again because of their universal certainty.
But there are other, often overlooked universal truths that endure regardless of the economic, social or political climate.
Among them: Kindness is never wasted, compassion is heroic, and expressions of gratitude are powerful affirmations.
Confidence, strength and determination are not negative personality traits, nor is standing up for what one believes and taking pride in one's work—regardless of what it is. Often the approach to a struggle is more important than the struggle itself.
Challenges are healthy and sometimes taking a risk is wise. The power to choose runs through all of life, and accepting and believing in its power is both liberating and weighty.
There is no education like travel. Grandparents are great resources—personal history is the key to self knowledge and is nourishment for the soul. A legacy doesn't have to be cash or property and everybody is capable of leaving one. And perhaps the best advice—too good to ever be cliche—Carpe Diem... 'Seize the Day.'