A word to graduates

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2019

We have a granddaughter who is graduating from high school in a couple of weeks.

Joining with her parents, my wife and I are so proud of her and her accomplishments, good grades, a skilled musician, sound work ethic, accepts responsibility, fun person, respect for others and meaningful friendships.

In a couple of weeks, along with numerous others, she will reach the monumental milestone of becoming a high school graduate. Certainly, she is to be congratulated for her diligence and achievement. High school graduation is no small accomplishment.

However, no sooner will she graduate that another phase of her life will commence. As the late Charles F. Kettering, American inventor and businessman observed, “My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”

In our granddaughter’s case, she will be off to college in the fall. It’s at this point that I want to share with her a few words of prayerful wisdom. You see, an interest in the future is critical, but a measure of direction is also essential. In some respect, with our granddaughter, I feel like I am speaking to the choir but here goes anyway.

First, be something rather than have something. Who you are is far more important than what you do, have or accomplish. Jesus was speaking of this when he said, “For what will it profit a person if he/she gains the whole world and forfeits his/her life?” The one irreplaceable value in a person’s life is character.

Second, target your passion.   In the play, “Amadeus” Salieri, the court musician, realizes the young Mozart’s talent when he hears him for the first time. As he compares his own mediocre gifts, he confides to the audience, “Is it enough just to have passion?” More talented and gifted people fail because of a lack of passion than anything else. Neil Diamond defines passion “as the Super Bowl of enthusiasm.” Passion is the fire that burns in our bellies that will not be extinguished.

Third, attitude is monumental. The longer I live the more convinced I am that life is 10 percent what happens to us, and 90 percent how we respond to it.

Fourth, laugh a lot — it’s good medicine. Laughter is the thing that makes most everything else on my list doable. So many people tend to lose the joy in their lives. I’m not even talking about the tragedies and troubles that come our way. I’m talking about life’s awesome responsibilities that have a way of creeping up on us wearing us out, making us deadly serious and robbing us of our joy. And finally, live a life of commitment.