It's that time of year again when we try to find new ways to tell graduates congratulations on achieving their goal of getting over the education hurdle. Whether you are graduating from elementary school or are one of a new crop of barbers, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, teachers or preachers, the words are the same, "Congratulations on your accomplishment. You made it over."
Graduation is like a hurdle race. As soon as you've cleared one hurdle, you look up and there is another staring you in the face.
Now it's time to prepare for the next hurdle. In the case of graduating from college or professional school, the next hurdle is life. If it is a trade school or apprenticeship program that you graduated from, now you are the baker, the butcher, the candle stick maker, so to speak. It's up to you to do what you must do.
My wife, in her book, Miss Ruthie Speaks is, in a sense, talking about life because that is what keeps coming. In her chapter which she calls, "Happy Anniversary", written to commemorate our (then) 48th year of marriage, Miss Ruthie states that life was a struggle for us, just as it was getting to the point of graduation, and sometimes, anniversaries. Miss Ruthie reminds us that with the struggles come options that usually pop up in times of trouble. Options like quitting, whether it's school or your mate. In talking about our marriage, she says we successfully avoided those options and became "solid as a rock". In a sense, we graduated to the next grade with each anniversary. The book, by the way, is available at the Journal office and makes the perfect graduation gift.
The advice of one who travelled over the road of raising a family (and raising me) and getting through college after standing in support of me during my college years, makes her uniquely qualified to serve as a living role model.
Her journey from growing up in less than perfect circumstances after her biological mother died when she was just two years old, to getting through the years of insecurity and uncertainty, to blossoming into the woman she is today as part of our family team, deems her with experience to share with our children and others.
At the end of the day, the message for graduates is to keep moving forward. Don't be sidetracked. You are the hope for the future of our community and, in the end, the nation.
Your choices are to set high goals and keep pushing forward, no matter what you hear about the future of jobs or the amount of debt you owe for your education, the future holds success as long as you maintain the spirit of achievement and accomplishment that got you to the graduation line. You can and will succeed, and have your story to tell and help future generations.
Think about it like this, "If it is to be, it's up to me." Act as though the rest of the world needs to keep up with you. Keep looking forward and upward, and everything's going to be okay (say, "EGBOK").
Congratulations on your graduation!