Dear Graduate: I wish you bad luck…
I write this in June, the time of year when high school and college seniors would have donned caps and gowns, posed with grandma for pictures and said goodbye to many friends that they’re unlikely to see much more, if ever again.
Normally, many would now be headed off to their first job, college, or grad school. Others would be planning weddings with their college sweetheart or moving into that largely-empty first small apartment.
But these are far from normal times. Course instruction was curtailed. Graduation ceremonies canceled and instead of meeting that cute girl from Advanced Lit for 2 a.m. toaster oven pizza, many spent their last semester tutoring mom as she set up her 10 a.m. Zoom meeting. But despite these abnormal times, life goes on.
Cute babies do become even cuter toddlers. Toddlers grow into ever so wise preteens and snotty teenagers, and if you’re lucky, turn into some pretty amazing young adults. Those young adults do graduate and join society as freshly-minted citizens – coronavirus or not.
Instead of wishes for success and all the other platitudes that are foisted on our graduates, I have a different message for you: I WISH YOU BAD LUCK! From time to time in the years to come…
I hope you are treated to ingratitude so that you will remember to offer appreciation to those that offer you large (or even small) kindnesses.
I hope for your failure so that you can learn perseverance and try again after your failure. Get up again and again until you succeed or realize that you need to choose another path through life.
I hope that you will experience just enough pain from illness, lost love, or death to understand compassion.
I hope for you to suffer injustice so that you will know how important justice is to your fellow man.
I hope that when you encounter arrogance—and you will—you will come to treasure humility. Humility is important because like it or not, life is a game of chance and neither your success nor failure is completely deserved.
I hope that you suffer some difficult financial times, so you will know compassion for the poor and offer charity to the less fortunate.
Know that whether I wish these things or not, they are going to happen. And lastly, I wish you some dispiriting times so you will know the Lord and that the power of prayer can carry you through the difficult parts of life.
The other thing that new graduates are offered is advice. There are many well-worn nuggets that you’ve heard such as, “It’s better to listen than to speak” and “Only foolish squirrels eat the nuts as they find them,” and so on.
But here I can offer advice to you that I think is in short supply. I would tell you that there is no fairness in life; in fact, little about life is fair. I would say that you need to take responsibility and own your own life. It’s yours to make of what you may and what happens in life won’t be because of something your parents did when you were 7, what your employer did or what your government did – you’re responsible for it all.
There is no cap and gown this year, no hugs from gram and gramps, no parties, and that might seem unfair… but you’re an adult now – get used to it!