Oh, Iowa Park High School Class of 2018, I hardly knew you.
But I feel like I do now.
Of course, I knew your names through stories in the Leader but it’s been longer than a decade since I’ve had a child in school and I know fewer and fewer of you guys every year.
Then last week happened, as it does every year. I looked at your senior pictures daily for almost a week, resizing them and placing them above the right (please God) names in our annual graduation issue. I feel like I know all of you – I even know your middle names.
I’ve worked with many of your parents over the past two weeks, taking carefully chosen baby and senior pictures and beautiful words for their grown babies for this issue. There’s a lot of love out there for you, Class of 2018. This I know.
I graduated IPHS in 1983, 35 years ago. In fact, from where you sit I may be knocking on wisdom’s door or at the very least, have her address.
I have made mistakes in my life – a lot of them. Lucky for me, those mistakes have been my greatest teacher. So, in no particular order I ask you to consider my humble advice as you end this particular chapter in your life and begin, as many call it, adulting.
• Think for yourself. At least if you’re wrong, you’ve learned something.
• Own your mistakes. It’s nice if everyone else does, too, but that’s not up to you. If you will own and admit your mistakes, you’ll be trusted.
• Forgive, both yourself and others. This is much easier to do when you are willing to own your own mistakes.
• I hope you never lose your ability to put yourself in others’ shoes, and that empathy is one of the first things you pull out of your toolbox.
• I hope you laugh, often and loud, with old and new friends.
• Speaking of friends, don’t isolate yourself. Friends are amazing and necessary
• If you move away from these parts (Texas), as many of you will, eat a lot of Tex-Mex and What-A-Burger before you go. If you move very far it’s impossible to get decent Tex-Mex or any What-A-Burgers, or so I hear. So, eat it. now. You will miss it.
Lastly, friend of mine from high school posted a meme on Facebook this week that made me think of you. It was a picture of a bunch of joyous graduates, with the caption, “Congratulations on getting through the easiest part of your life.”
Adulting – the newest verb – is hard. But it’s worth it. I have no doubt you will do it well.