I am fortunate, as are many, to have recently watched and celebrated the graduation of a family member from high school or college. This week, I watched, celebrated and started to feel better about our future, as my grandson and his classmates/friends graduated high school. This relatively small group of high school seniors in a small borough in a northeastern state, demonstrated the very qualities that we are in great need of, if our country and our planet are to evolve to our highest collective potential.
The speeches, made by several of the graduating seniors, inspired as well as consoled me. In a time of great divide, hate and negative rhetoric, I was lifted by the diversity of the class, the stories they told in their remarks and the characterization of the class by one of the speakers, as family. Isn’t this what we all wish to see and experience each and every day?
As I have written in this space before, I believe we are all leaders. We are the leaders of our lives. We are responsible for our choices; the actions we take which are informed by our values and beliefs – conscious and unconscious – and we alone have the power to make changes which best serve and support us individually, as we serve and support others.
This group – this generation and the ones coming up behind them – has seen the best and worst of we have to offer. Just look around. And yet, their ability to be inspired by parents and faculty in the context of the ongoing negativity that is pervasive in the world offers great promise that our future is trending in the best direction. These young adults are technically astute and savvy. They have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t; what supports and what doesn’t. They have created and will continue to create a world that is so much better than the one they have inherited. I feel this is the promise of this generations of leaders of their lives. Their service to others will be grounded in new creations; and new questions that we have not asked and need to. They will – as it is in their nature to not take everything at face value. The questions are so very important.
What can we do to support them? Look around. Work to support them by removing barriers, offering words of encouragement, and standing up rather than shrinking away or shirking responsibility. Each of us has the power to do one small thing every day – every moment – that contributes to the positive momentum that is underway in many places in many ways. As different as we all are, we are here, at this time, for a reason. We chose it. We have the opportunity to facilitate the positive momentum necessary for a better future, a safer and more loving place for all to live and thrive.
To the classes of 2019, who have endured an extra dose of fear injected into their daily experiences from a very young age, you have my deepest respect, my heartfelt apologies for what we handed you and my loving support for your forward momentum. I offer to all graduates and to those who love and support them, the following as a reminder of just how powerful we each are:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Congratulations and thank you!