File This Away Graduates

by Curt Kovener

The 116th senior class at Crothersville High School will be graduating this Sunday and they are to be congratulated for completing the educational milestone.
But they also need be aware that high school graduation means the easiest time of their life is just about to draw to a close. Now I certainly didn’t feel that way over four decades ago before graduation day, however, with the benefit of some living I find the advice proffered then by those who I thought were over the hill and out of touch still rings true.
The Statler Brothers are right: “Things get complicated when you get past eighteen.”
But even though, throughout the coming complicated times, always remember the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Admittedly, that very simple Scriptural based philosophy is difficult when the alligators seem to be snapping all around you, but in the longer scheme of things, you, your family and your community will be better for it.
While we live in a world of instant gratification and immediate convenience, always remember that the things of true value and quality take time. Diamonds are merely chunks of coal put under pressure for a long time.
And remember through those tough times—those times when you may consider bailing out—metal gets stronger when it is tempered by fire. The same is true of the human spirit. While the difficult times are never pleasant, seeing them through helps develop character.
When things seem to be at their blackest, remember “Tough times never last, tough people do.”
Grampa used to tell me the story of a farmer who took his potato crop to market. Rather than drive his horse & wagon over the well used, smooth path, this farmer went over the roughest roads on the way into town.
“In rough times the big potatoes rise to the top,” he would say. And it is true in more than just the farming sense.
But do not become so tough that your heart is callused to the needs and concerns of others. There will always be folks less fortunate than you. Do not turn your head and your heart from them. Consider for a bit what it might be light to walk in their shoes and remember the Golden Rule.
“Live simply so others can simply live,” is a good philosophy to govern your life.
Stand up for that which you believe is right. Speak out against injustice. Do not accept at face value that “we do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.” See if you can find a better way.
Keep up with new, emerging technology but do not allow it to force you to sacrifice the simple joys of lone walks in the woods, witnessing nature. Those times are therapeutic breaths of fresh air for the soul to better prepare you to deal with the continually hectic, continually advancing workplace technologies.
I remember a story told by one of the speakers at one of the graduations I have attended over the years. It seems a recent college graduate runs to the top of the campus hill, thrusts his arts diploma toward the sky and shouts proudly, “Look world, I earned my AB degree.” To which the world replies, “Then pay attention, son, and I’ll teach you the rest of the alphabet.”
So seniors, this column may not mean much to you today. But place it in your scrap book or high school annual for future reference. It may gain some wisdom over the next decade or two.
And remember the Golden Rule.