The calendar will soon flip to May and with that has already come the expected invitations to celebrate graduation. This is time honored tradition of recognizing the young people in our community should not go unnoticed. For many, this is a time to share the knowledge and wisdom that time has given to a new generation making their mark on the world.
And perhaps I am being beyond presumptuous. I feel compelled to share some wisdom, but I know that I can easily be discarded as being too young or even too undisciplined, to give advice to the younger generations. But be that as it may, I still feel that I have something to give.
I have learned that the most important skill you can have, no matter what you do, is to properly and forthrightly articulate your thoughts. In order to do this, here are some simple rules. Tell the truth, or at least don’t lie; the truth will last longer than the lie. Read something written by a great writer; there were great minds around before you were born, discover their wisdom and learn from their lessons. Be precise in your words. Sharp, clear articulated thoughts will always mean more than verbose non-sense.
Friendships are important. Perhaps you don’t know how to be a friend, what can you do? Ask someone to do something small for you, so in the future they will ask you to do something small for them. This is how trust is built. Make friends with those that want the best for you. These are the people that will cheer your success and pick you up when you fall. Be careful with who you share good news with; conversely, be careful with who you share bad news with, as well. News can always be used; either for good or for ill. Always plan and work diligently to invest in your relationships.
Remember we have all lived with some catastrophic events in our lives and we are all working through our own thoughts and feelings. If you have not lived through a catastrophic event, consider yourself lucky because you will. If a memory still brings tears to your eyes, never be afraid to write it out, fully and completely, and think about your feelings. Don’t judge other’s pain; we can never be sure of the devastation others have walked through. By the same token, recognize that there is more strength and courage in you than the pain and malevolence in the things that are trying to bring you down.
Treat yourself as if you are the most prized possession you have ever been responsible for. Treat others as if they are prized possessions as well, because they are. Don’t be a bully. If you see a bully, don’t let them get away with being a bully.
Do not carelessly discard social institutions. Without these social institutions, we can’t understand the past and things will never stay the same. Do not carelessly discard artistic accomplishments. Without the beauty of the arts, we can’t embrace the future and things will never change.
Think carefully about who you want to be in the future and aim with all your skill towards achieving that and always work hard to achieve that one goal. Remember to compare yourself to who you were yesterday and not what someone else is today or who they will be tomorrow; you have no control over others. Also remember that nothing done well with care and diligence is never insignificant and will always hold value.
Always be grateful for the things that you have, never become lustful for the things you want. You will always need less than what you have, you will always want more than what you have.
Never allow yourself to become arrogant in your accomplishments; never allow yourself to become resentful in your disappointments. You can’t trust the arrogant and the resentful will never trust you.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that the things you do not know will always be more valuable to you than the things you do know. Always listen to others that might share things that you do not know with you and be willing to engage in challenging conversations.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at email@example.com.