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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     Graduation season is upon us. It seems as if it has been years since I was a young man walking across the stage in Redfield hoping to open the little folder to find a diploma in it. Actually it has been years, and lots of them since that time.

     For the graduate it’s a time of excitement and satisfaction mixed in with just enough wildness to make it interesting. Years of hard work and days spent sitting in class learning about the important things in life. Like when the Normans invaded Saxony and how to find “xy” when “c” is 7 and “a” is the square root of “z”. Yes, this is all important information that hopefully you’ve stored away and can pull out when trying to find enough money to pay your bills, or when you’ve just broken up with the person you’ve dated for years.

     For parents of graduates it can be an odd and difficult time. One where the joy of the possibility that your child will leave the house soon and not come back to live with you (good luck with that by the way), mixes with the sadness that this little person that you did your best to raise without killing them (even if you dropped them once or twice when they were babies) is now a grown up. Oh sure, I think graduation is much harder on parents, Mom’s especially, then it is on the actual graduate. However, we should take relief in the fact that as a parent we still know a little more than they do, but only because we have been there.

     Graduates, today is an important day in your life and you should be proud of all the work you have put forth in order to get to this place. However, it is not THE most important day of your life. You’ll find over the next thirty odd years that there will be a great big bunch of important days in your life. You’ll find that along with them comes happiness and heartache. You’ll find that some days you are the king of the world, and yet others you are life’s punching bag. You’ll find that there are people out there who will lift you up and push you to greatness never expecting anything in return, and yet there are others who will suck the life out of you at every opportunity for their own gain. You’ll find you won’t ever have enough time to do the things you really dream about doing, but that you’ll find yourself doing things you never dreamed at all.

     As you head out into the world, remember a few life lessons that hopefully you’ve picked up by this point. Remember what you were taught in the first few years of Sunday School, be kind to anyone you meet who needs you. Pray every day and remember to say you’re sorry and ask forgiveness. Learn to forgive. Try to remember that you aren’t the only one in life who will succeed and fail. Treat others with respect and learn to be compassionate. Say “Yes” more than you say “No”, but if you’re in doubt go with the answer your Grandma would give you if you asked her if what you are about to do is o.k.

     Take chances in life, but don’t take risks. Always give people a second chance, but never a third. If you are going to walk away from something, walk away and don’t ever look back. Be true to yourself and be a part of the place you live. Remember to be a rock star every day to someone, but never forget to be humble. Do things without thinking about being rewarded right away. And remember to visit your Mom regularly. Stand up for the things you believe in but never be too hard headed that you can’t change your mind. Always keep one or two close friends, and don’t forget to email or call them every once in a while. Lean to ask for help when you need it, and never be too busy when a child wants your time.

     Finally, learn something new every day, remember to live like you are dying and never forget to take time to “be still” and just enjoy the ride. See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.