This week, seniors at schools around the region are walking the walk.
For them, receiving a sheepskin is the culmination of 12 long years of trials and tribulations, joy and sorrow, challenges and successes, learning about their limitations and exceeding their own expectations, love and hate, peer pressure Š the list goes on and on.
Many of them are glad to be leaving. They will run out of town as if their heels are on fire. And many of them are sad to be leaving behind the hallowed halls they walked for so many years. For them, moving on will be like walking through soft tar.
Ahead of all of them are even more challenges, joy and sorrow and lessons about themselves, life and their chosen careers.
Those of us who long ago tossed our mortar boards in the air will tell the graduating seniors to treasure the memories of high school, to forge ahead and push themselves through the barriers erected by those around them, by society and yes, by themselves.
But those of us who graduated a long time ago should also remember our own unwillingness to accept counsel from those older than us -- our naivete, our sense of invulnerability, our faith in our own skills making us deaf to those around us.
That’s not such a bad thing.
Advice offered, despite the well-meaning intent, is not always advice appreciated.
Some things we have to learn on our own Š and we’re better for it.
But ignoring advice
In the back of the mind, there it waits, to be proven or disproven.
And the best education and advice can’t compare with the lessons from the School of Hard Knocks.
Let’s be truthful: There are a lot of hard knocks out there waiting, especially in light of the current economic conditions.
While unsolicited advice is not always appreciated, the best things we might be able to give the new graduates is support, understanding, patience and kindness as they learn from adversity.
Oftentimes, a shoulder to lean on or a hand to help pick someone up is much more important than the spoken word.