Cap and gown. Pomp and Circumstance. Forty to 800 students (depending on the school) enter the hall. Parents and grandparents stand with tears in their eyes. For many this day signals an empty nest.
For others, it just might be the first grandchild stepping into the unknown. For those youths standing in wait, it is the beginning of their futures.
So what advice would you give the students, Pam? Well, I think the best I could share would be this: Find what you love to do then imagine the possibilities and do it. Soar into a future that serves this world and the people in it. Do not fear what you do not know. You will succeed. You have potential to create change. Do not hold on to the past; it only makes going forward more difficult. Dreams can come true. They will find you if you cannot find them. You can always change your mind. Do not regret mistakes for in stumbling we find stronger footing. Never compare yourself to others. You are the best you that you can be. There is no one finer. Do not be afraid to try new things. Look to your heart and let it sing. You never stop learning. Open your mind to all views then find your own. Each day is a new lesson. You have only tapped the very tip of your life. Soar, fly, step into an unknown world and be what you were born to be.
For me, life was scary once I left that lane on Neff Road. I had graduated and was going to college. I wanted to move away, but my past history reflected only homesickness at sleepovers. No one taught me how to survive on my own. I dreamed of dancing, writing and acting but had no encouragement. I blamed others for my fear of life outside of Darke County. There is no one to blame but myself. It took me until I was thirty-seven to have this realization. I began acting and taught drama as well. I worked with kids at risk. Kids wondering if there were such things as dreams. I had friends of all colors and all beliefs. I learned from each and every one. I could look back and see the possibilities I had never recognized at the time. I thought I was to be a daughter, a wife, a mother. All perfectly good, but for me there was so much more. I knew that I had a purpose in this old world. I had a duty to learn, change and open my mind to possibilities. Finally I followed my heart and began to write.
I sat in front of a couple of students at a graduation. One young lady asked the other, “What is that symbol on the top of that mortar board?” The other girl answered, “It is the symbol for Mercedes Benz.” Let us pray that the youth of 2017 will look for more than a fancy new car. Perhaps they will look for peace and a better world.☮
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.