Monday, June 11, 2012


‘Tis the season, graduation season! Around the nation young people are walking across stages, waving their diplomas high and proud, taking the first steps toward the next phase of their lives.

Three of my favorite people celebrated this past week, having made family and friends very proud of their accomplishments. Of the three, two have clearly defined goals for their future. One has entered the military.  Another, after being accepted to four of the most prestigious colleges, has confirmed enrollment at their first choice. And then there is that one who doesn’t have a clue, still contending with “what now”.

Recently, I worked on a research project talking to a host of high school seniors about their future plans. For each one who had already applied and been accepted to college, or who had enlisted in the military and was preparing for boot camp, there were two more who still didn’t have a clue. For them, the prospect of tomorrow was still about having a good time with mommy and daddy footing the bill. Of the two with no idea of what comes next, one was scared to death and the other really didn’t give a damn, figuring that things would work out when it became necessary. And then of course there is the reality that things might not work out at all. Very few of them had even given that possibility a fleeting consideration.  As their answers were being recorded and I listened to their stories, it dawned on me that I was talking to our future and that scared the hell out of me.

There is a new breed of kid being raised today. Far too many are narcissistic, mean-spirited, and lazy, with an attitude of entitlement. Most aren’t likeable and yet we still want to have high hopes for their success, despite the abundance of failure that seems to be their calling card. Those kids I want to shake some sense into. Those kids would benefit from a good ass-whipping that’s been ten-plus years in the making.

And then there is always that kid whose enthusiasm for life ignites your own. The young adult who wants more for themselves than others have ever imagined for them. Those who are willing and wanting to sacrifice and fight to do and be better. Those kids touched my heart and had me rooting for them to succeed despite the many odds against them.

So, it’s a season of transitions and for those students with a game plan and the support to help them through, I wish them much success. For those students still trying to navigate “what next” I wish even more for them. ‘Tis the season to see every one of their dreams soar!

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