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SMITH COLUMN: Good advice for the recent graduate

Graduation is a good time that should be enjoyed by all. Seeing young kids about to flap their wings and leave the nest with anticipation that the next four years will be a defining time in their lives, you wish them Godspeed and say a prayer that good tidings lay ahead for them. After all, they hold the world’s future in their hands. 

For this generation, there is the reality that they will need to manage the vicissitudes of government, social justice, sexuality, homelessness, environment, immigration and civil obedience.

They will have to manage everyday problems, great and small. They will be expected to be their brother’s keepers. They will need to give of themselves to make good triumph over evil; they will have to set and uphold lofty standards, finding a way to underscore fairness while being responsible and ambitious. They will need to take care of have-nots without bankrupting the system.

God help them!

This is the way it was with one kid and one community this past weekend:

Alex is a typical kid in his neighborhood who benefited from a Catholic education, which makes his grandparents very proud.

There is security in the knowledge that he is the beneficiary of a good familial foundation, which should help him through challenging and abrupt times.

If it were appropriate to preach him a sermon, the message would be that he underscores the following preachments:

4Develop and maintain a passion for good   work ethics.

4Allow your word to become your bond.

4Recognize that being a gentleman is a good practice.

4Remember the old saying that manners will take you where money won’t.

4Seek friendships with older people and respect their sage advice.

4Be respectful and supportive of the “little” people.

4Return your phone calls. Send thank you notes for the simplest of things.

4Reserve your greatest contempt for child and spousal abusers. They are the biggest cowards in our society.

4Continue your family tradition of respect for the animal kingdom.

4Favor green salads, fruits, nuts and vegetables in your diet.

4Remember, it is still nice to open the car door for ladies.

4Appreciate the outdoors and the environment.

4Save a tree and enjoy the emotional good that comes from it.

4Give history the highest priority in your life.

4Let the road hogs have the road.

4Keep the ills of social media forever at arms-length.

4Remember that vindictiveness and envy are as injurious to your health as sugar.

4To disarm, illuminate, and uplift, give humor the highest regard, always remembering some people can tell a joke; some can’t.

4Honor the flag for the long-standing traditional reasons.

4Read, read, read, read, read.

There will be plenty of words to live by to accompany you on your life’s journey, but the following perspective would be good to grasp and maintain:

“Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel.  The Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we are all eligible for life’s small pleasures. A pat on the back, a kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass, a full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire, a great meal, a glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer. Don’t fret about copping life’s grand rewards. Enjoy its tiny delights.  There’s plenty for all of us.”