All around me people are graduating. Every day an invitation comes in the mail from someone I thought was still in pre-school. Each weekend, stadium lights come on and long lines of young people await their walking papers. Parents beam, thinking of what the future holds for their child.
I feel smarter already. Do you?
I’m not kidding. I really do. With a single positive thought, I believe many can benefit.
Imagine the power of thousands with 12 (or more) years of education under their caps.
When something is learned, everyone advances just a little. It’s progress. And it’s palpable this month.
Commencement is good for everyone.
1. Graduation is forward motion
From learning to walk to learning to read. From riding a bike to correctly pronouncing words. With one person’s improvement, we are all better for it.
When my granddaughter started Pre-K, she seemed to learn exponentially. (She also insisted on being called Valerie Fields.) One minute she was depending on us to hold her up. The next she was counting by 5s to 200 and inventing words in Spanish.
A curriculum propelled Valerie Fields from dependence to autonomy. Experience would teach her how to contribute.
When one student steps on that stage, we all move forward a little. Every generation benefits from generations before and after them. Think Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein and Jonas Salk.
2. There is no end to learning
Learning is forever. There is no cap on how much wisdom you can have or when you stop learning. I try to learn something new every day. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes I make the same mistake 56 times before I understand why it’s wrong.
We all need refresher courses.
Just before Valerie Fields’ Pre-K graduation, she told me she needed some summer classes. She worried she might stop being smart if she took a few weeks off. She was thinking about cheerleading and dance classes. And maybe a truck-driving school, just for girls.
Clearly her invention, Truck Driving School for Girls made me the proudest. I believed it to be a four -year-old version of breaking a glass ceiling. She loved cars and trucks. And because no one was teaching her about them, she knew a class was the next step. What confidence she had already learned.
3. The trickledown effect is real
No matter how much fun we’re having or how difficult things are, there is always a point where it’s time to move on. To let go of what was and move toward what might be.
When Valerie Fields walked calmly to the front of the room (her cap and gown more than slightly askew) and sat with her classmates that day, tears of pride filled my eyes.
Wishes, prayers, encouragement and more than a few time outs brought these kids to this point. As they would every class after them. When her name was called, Valerie Fields raced to the podium. As she received her diploma, she was asked her plans for the future. She took the microphone and confidently announced she was going to be a basketball player. I was stunned. And I was moved forward a decade.
If Valerie Fields had, in one week, moved from truck driving school to professional athlete, there was no reason why I couldn’t learn to write headlines. Maybe even learn to cook.
Dreams can come true. Reinvention is always possible. Graduations remind us of that.
I’d like to think that the next time I learn something the hard way, another graduate of the Truck Driving School for Girls is becoming a basketball player.
What do YOU want to be next?