Another class has graduated — cast out into the world, with our love and blessings. And no matter how hard we try — we can’t avoid tearing up at such a moment.
Especially this year.
So, dear graduates, a few words.
First. We’re sorry. Really sorry. Worst job market in years, teacher layoffs, budget deficits, lingering wars we’ve asked you to fight, gushing oil wells, bitter debates, financial swindles. No excuses: We’ve made a mess of it.
Of course, we’ve loved you and dreamed for you and bled for you and sacrificed for you — as our parents did for us and their parents did for them.
Thank God you’re here — ready to pitch in. We can use a fresh set of eyes.
In the meantime; we thought we’d pass along some of our favorite observations on the path that lies before you.
For there’s one thing we’ve learned — in the course of our best mistakes. Problems come and go, economies wax and wane, headlines always frighten, but in the end it’s love and character that matter.
So here are a few thoughts, in case you didn’t get enough pithy wisdom at graduation:
A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.
— Theodore Roosevelt
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
— Francis Bacon, Essays, 1625
Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
— Judy Garland
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
— Dr. Seuss
Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.
— David Lloyd George
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.
— Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, 1890
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
— William Butler Yeats
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela
Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.
— Erma Bombeck
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
— Milton Berle
If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
— Vince Lombardi
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
— Edmund Hillary
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
— Henry Ford
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
— Winston Churchill
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
— John Wooden
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
— Eleanor Roosevelt
Your families are extremely proud of you. You can’t imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money.
— Gary Bolding