Over the last few days, I have been looking at the seniors graduating from our local high schools, placing their pictures in our Graduation Sections which are displayed in this week’s paper.
Bright faces, smiling faces. Faces of accomplishment. Deservedly so, given the last year and half and the things that have turned our nation into a mess.
As a high school student when the Viet Nam war was going on, the country was divided by many factions, and, in many ways, it was pulled apart by some of the same people that seek to bring us down today. Make no mistake, some of the atrocities that we see played out every day now, were taking place back in the 70’s and 80’s, but we weren’t exposed to the day to day, hour by hour, account of everything.
Our seniors are walking into a world that we never knew. They are walking into a world that has used the words of racism, police violence and cancellation as cue cards.
We can’t pander to the minority, the one percent that finds everything they don’t agree with as objectional and untasteful. I believe, and hope our graduates will take information from all sides.
Seniors, please don’t listen to a few when you should be feeling and hearing what the majority around you are saying and feeling.
And now I stop.
As a graduate and a young adult, you have to listen to your heart. You have to listen to that moral compass that has guided you during some of your troubling times as a child and blossoming adult.
Now to be a little cruel, even with your education, you don’t know squat.
I say that because as a graduate I thought I did know everything and learned that lesson a hundred times over. Some of the folks that you have heard over the last 16 or 17 years of your life knew what they were talking about. Some, they don’t have a clue and didn’t when they were your age and don’t now.
Pick your mentors carefully. Our motto for our graduation sections this year was, “Together…we find our own paths.”
You have managed and come through an educational system that hopefully has given you the tools to make rational decisions in the coming months and years. You will continue to make them whether you take on college or enter the work force.
Be your own mind and take in information from all sides and trust your inner feelings.
The world owes you nothing, and to be quite frank, your parents, your friends, your peers don’t owe you a dang thing. It’s up to you to make decisions and choices that make you the person you are.
Good, bad, indifferent. Your choices moving forward are what will make you an adult.
I looked at the faces of the seniors as I placed them on the pages you see in this week’s paper and realized that many years ago in the past, I was facing some of the same things you will face today. Lord knows I certainly didn’t make the right decisions all the time, but I made enough.
Take your time. Think things through. Put the dang phone down and think about what’s really important, not just now, but a week, a month, a year, 10 years from now.
What I guess I’m saying is you want to be an adult and be treated like one. Now’s the time to start acting and thinking like one that will hopefully have a family some day and be thinking about the same things I’m thinking about right now.
Three of our kids are in college right now and making decisions that will affect them for years to come. That quick decision you might make soon could make a big impact on your life.
I wish us older folks and your parents, could have made some better decisions and left you with a world that didn’t give you more obstacles that you deserve.
You’re smart, educated, and you have your whole adult life in front of you.
Make your choices and know you can achieve your dreams and hopes with the right decisions.
If you see me say, “Hey.”
Dee McLelland is Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News.