While running errands, I listen to the radio in the car. For several months, this usually results in a puddle of tears. A specific handful of songs trigger the grief.
This week, it wasn’t a song, but the D.J. talking that caused a wave of emotion. They were talking about how graduations look different this year. Drive-through ceremonies, virtual ceremonies, or extremely limited audience and spacing in the ceremony venue became the “norm” all over the country. Then they asked, “What one thing would you say to this year’s graduating class?”
When I narrowed down my thoughts on the matter, one central theme emerges. It won’t surprise anyone who’s watched my videos or read many of my posts.
Your circumstances do not define you!
This knowledge is vital in the current state of the world. This year has not gone as expected. Many students (and professionals) feel robbed. However, you are not defined by your circumstances, but by your responses. You get to choose whether you will be overwhelmed or overcome. You get to choose to be helpless or to be a helper. You get to choose to live as a victim or rise victorious.
Think for yourself. Search for Truth.
Try new things and learn something new every day.
Be kind to everyone. Everyone is going through something. Not all masks are visible.
While I thought about these things in general terms, I was okay. Then, I thought of what I would say to one special senior and the flood started. I don’t yet have teenagers, but I’ve known this girl for all of her teen years. When she wanted to learn business, I became her teacher. Sometimes I think I learned more from her than she did from me.
I met this shy 12-year-old when we moved here. I’ve watched her grow into a remarkable, bold-when-necessary young lady who is kind and wise beyond her years.
When doing shows, you might travel only a few miles or a few hours. This means a lot of time for talking and getting to know each other. I listened as she struggled with friendships and learned to trust in the love they shared even when they disagreed. I watched her go through heartbreak and exhibit more grace and forgiveness than the adults in her life. (To be fair, she has many mama bears that were not happy).
Her faith inspires me. She thinks for herself and seeks the Truth. She tries new things and learns something new in every situation. She often humbles the rest of us with her example. She is exceedingly kind, even to those who have hurt her. She chooses forgiveness over anger. She tells me that I inspire her, but she’s inspired me and taught me more.