#Editorial #OurVoice #MichaelHallisey #SpotlightNews
Time is a thief whose stealth is observed through hindsight. Somewhere between Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and college applications parents forget the emphasis once placed on their demanding careers and wonder where Time went. Who is this man, who is this woman who calls me Mom or Dad? You can still recall the floral scent from her newborn head. You can still make out the outfit — one or two sizes too large — you dressed him as you wondered aloud, “Is the hospital staff really going to let us take him home?”
The last four years have been a tough time for you and your spouse. It seems like most of it has been spent as a spectator in your own child’s life. Whatever details you’re able to glean from your kid’s world was either through observation, inference or outright interrogation work that would make Sonny and Tubbs proud. But, that’s of little satisfaction. The free market value on a smile or a hug has grown more each day, because you’re aware of their scarcity. And, it’s about to get worse.
In the graduate’s address, you hear your child’s words. He speaks of his appreciation for life in a small town and never living in fear. She gushes over the support from her friends, her teachers and from you. It’s the first time you’ve heard that. You catch her repeating things you or your spouse often said: Do the right thing and you’ll never have regret. Live in the moment; you won’t get it back and the future’s not yours. Don’t compare yourself to others; you’re on a different path. You glance at your spouse as you share a laugh. She was listening after all.
And, then, there’s the advice he shares with his peers. Maybe you’re struck by the vocabulary and his stoic comfort in front of a crowd. But, the words ring of a wisdom you didn’t expect. He urges his classmates to pursue a passion. Go after it, he says, and if you haven’t found one yet, go find it. You remember cringing at such words at your own high school graduation. How cliche it seemed to hear a retiring teacher say that to a bunch of teenagers. How trite it sounded from the valedictorian, and how you wondered what book he stole it from. It took you years to realize the importance of dreams, and how they haunted you between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. as you sludged through a dead end job. Most adults grew up seeing dreamers as lazy losers who either lacked common sense or a strong work ethic. You were 45 and in debt when you first learned the clown of your class was a successful entrepreneur out West.
How different would things have been had you listened instead of mocked?
The children of today have viewed the world through different eyes, perhaps less colorful than the rainbow spectacles we once had. The internet, the news, our movies and games may have enlightened them to realities before we would have liked. The thought that children should be seen and not heard is no longer commonly believed. As we witnessed several commencement speeches over the past weekend, we heard the wisdom of more than 100 collected years. Individually, these kids know the importance of dreams and possess the strength of character and confidence to pursue them. They are ready to take on the world, and that world will soon be in good hands.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.