You are currently viewing Grouse Hollow Journal: Graduation Tips for the Class of 2022 |  Opinion

Grouse Hollow Journal: Graduation Tips for the Class of 2022 | Opinion

The annual graduation party comes upon us with smiling old-time seniors and their friends and cousins ​​playing cornhole and volleyball, smiling proud parents welcoming guests, tables full of letters, rewards and featured picture boards, drinks caught in ice cold coolers, steamed pulled pork sandwiches, fried catfish, fried chicken, dessert bars of all kinds including my favorites , lemon bars, cookies and a picture cake or two. I first wrote a graduation speech in 2015 and since then have received many requests to do it again. So here it is, my redux 2022 graduation speech:

After 70 years of groping to find my way in life, I now know more than ever how life can sometimes get out of your control: illnesses, bills, accidents, relationships. bosses and jobs. Unless you can develop what someone thinks is a popular app that you can sell for millions, you’ll have to turn to crime or politics or plain elbow grease to live the dream.

That said, ask your parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents and I almost guarantee you’ll be amazed at the many ways most of them have made a living through all the many stages of their lives.

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If memory serves me right, I think I’ve worked over 25 full-time or part-time jobs, from harvesting hay to producing TV commercials to teaching speech and English. I hated some jobs, but I liked most of them. Oh, I’m proud that I never got fired from any of them. Throughout the seven great decades that I have been blessed with, I have learned many useful or at least semi-useful skills and things that have trickled down to every subsequent occupation and part of my life; I sweat sometimes, but I had a lot of fun at work and met lots and lots of people. It’s the best thing ever; in every job I’ve had, whether I liked the job or not, I’ve met great people (admittedly with the occasional screw-up or asshole as a seasoning) but most of all I’ve met and learned to meet great people who have become friends; I hope they felt that for me.

When I was your age in 1969, I wanted to be an art teacher until my guidance counselor showed me that the annual contract for a new teacher was only $5,200. I took another path. Twenty years later, my life has come full circle. I was 38 when I started teaching full time.

“So what?” You ask. Well, the “so what?” is that life is all about decisions. You decide to work your whole life in a job because it pays well and you need the money or maybe because you are not sure if you can succeed in the career you want; I didn’t think I would be a good teacher; some of my former students may agree. Here’s the thing, you decide if you hate going to work every day because you think what you’re doing is pointless or boring but you need to make money, OR you decide the job you’re doing doesn’t look like to work because you enjoy doing whatever it is. You can find a job that helps others and you will find that it is not a job at all and you can be proud of it. I’ll bet you a cup of coffee that this decision makes a hell of a difference to most of the century you’ll be here on planet Earth. The best decision I’ve ever made in my life, besides asking Ellen to marry me and have kids, was to become a teacher. I didn’t realize how profound this decision was until it happened. I almost never hated going to work during the 26 years I taught.

Graduates, if you ever wanted to do something, do it. Working is good. Money is good and necessary. Pay your bills, but remember we work to live, not the other way around.

Another big decision you have to make is to be open to people, to everyone. Reject someone at your own risk; Unless you realize they are harming you physically or mentally, all people are valuable and you may miss an opportunity to make a great friendship. Also know that people may not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel.

I realize you may be tired of school, but I advise you to never stop learning – read a book or two that covers the historical period of your life to learn and perhaps understand what was really going on while you didn’t know what was going on except for music and sitcoms and sports, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter and Facebook; read the biographies of leaders like past presidents: in case you haven’t been paying attention, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden so far in your life. Whether you like them or not, learn how they became who they became, what they did right and wrong, and what they say they learned along the way. You will find that none of them were perfect, but the moments they influenced continue to influence your life. Take what you can use.

Let people help you when you need them. It’s a big problem. It’s good for you and it’s good for them. When your mom, dad, aunt, or grandma wants to send that leftover roast turkey or stew home on Sunday night, take it. You eat lunch for a few days and she will feel good to help you.

Think before you speak, especially before speaking angrily – trust me. I know this one first hand and from both sides. At one point in my life, my mind never knew what my mouth would say next.

Never let your happiness totally depend on someone else’s happiness.

Think for yourself. Listen to others, but learn the issues, weigh the facts, then act or speak, oh and go vote – always – or don’t complain. If you don’t vote, you don’t count is not a trivial saying, it’s a fact. Not voting is not something to be proud of.

Never let anyone tell you “You don’t belong here” because of who you are. Reverse that in how you treat others as well.

Share the good things you know with others, especially children.

Start big and small tasks with an end in mind.

Things will get better or worse, just to say.

Volunteer. We need volunteers.

I tell people this all the time and I mean it: Keep a journal of events, births and deaths, who said what, deer camp, highlights and insights for yourself – that’s who you are or who you were anyway.

If and when you are a parent, I advise you not to complain about your little ones. Ask any parent, and I’m sure they’ll agree that it’ll feel like two months and those same little ones will call you from Colorado for money. Ask your parents elsewhere about it.

Visit and spend time with your grandparents; they have a lot of experience and knowledge to offer, and believe me, they are leaving us too soon. That said, listen to old people – I mean really listen carefully, you’ll understand why after you do – if you think about it. You don’t have to agree with everything they say or think, but you should try to understand. I would give anything to be able to visit them today.

And grads, call/visit and hang out with your parents — and often, said nuf. Expiration dates are not certain, but we all take this path.

To the graduates of 2022, let me assure you that life is always fantastic, life is always fulfilling, life always makes us happy, life is always fair, you can do whatever you decide, you should always follow your dreams or your passions, money comes easy, everyone you meet will love you, pizza and beer are really healthy for you. Hope is a pretty good strategy. AND if you believe all of this, do I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. Sorry but there is more fake news than certain reality in this paragraph, not always, but. . .

Until next time, get out –

I just turned 70. The years turn too quickly into memories, and that being angry or unhappy or ruthless and closed to others during the limited life span we are allotted is at best a waste and at worst a sin when you can choose otherwise.

Finally graduates of 2022, in the immortal words of John Lennon, “Imagine all the people living in peace.”

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