They were scrubbed squeaky-clean, each ready for that most special event. Graduates lined the stage in Sikeston last night as they have in other area schools this past week. They stood tall and proud and anxious to face the new world. Well actually, I'll bet some weren't looking forward to their new adventure because change is never quite that easy. But the appointed hour arrived nonetheless and there they stood in the spotlight.
Graduations are important in so many ways. It's the passage into the unknown, the acknowledgement of accomplishment and both the end and the beginning. I don't want this to sound too much like a graduation speech but it's hard to look at these graduates without wondering what their future will hold. It's the way it has always been and will always be.
I won't point a finger of blame because I may find it pointing in my direction. But the sad reality is that today's graduates face a more daunting world than the generation that preceded them. That much is a no-brainer. But the hope lies in the fact that these grads are probably more prepared to tackle those challenges than their predecessors and so on balance you hope everything works out as it should.
I assume that every generation looks at the current state of mankind and somehow yearns for the world as it once was. Of course that's a silly notion because you can't regain that which you have lost. Looking back also is a dangerous proposition since we tend to forget the downsides of the past and recall only those events and issues that rekindle fond memories. There's a clear danger in that process because in so many ways, today's world is much better than those yesteryears we recall. But don't tell that to our memories that are filled with idyllic notions. Thus is the nature of mankind.
My generation - not necessary intentionally - has broken so many promises we once made. We promised to provide the next generation with an improved world with less strife and more opportunities. That promise in so many ways fell by the wayside. Maybe we got lost in our own world and said to hell with what the future might bring. Someone must pay for the excesses of the "Me Generation" and that bill may come due sooner than you think.
The challenges ahead are either obstacles or opportunities. In less time than you can imagine, we'll turn over this world of ours to the graduates of today. We hope and pray they are prepared. Just as our parents hoped and prayed for us.
And despite all of the rhetoric and all of the problems, I'm willing to bet that these "kids" are up to the challenge.