It was an exciting day. He was valedictorian and gave a speech which focused on determination, compromise, and fighting for what you believe in. His two lessons are part of this blog. But there is also the theme of change.
I started blogging when David started high school. One of my first blogs was when he signed the Upper School Book. That blog post examined the importance of ritual. Unfortunately, one of my next blogs was about hazing. It was then that David asked, “Mom, can’t you find inspiration somewhere else?” So I did. But with this recent momentous occasion—I have to come back to my kids’ inspirational influence in my life. A door has closed—high school is done. But another door—or window—has opened. He is heading off to college.
Here are the thoughts for the day—
Lesson 1 from the speech: Have an opinion and fight for what you believe in. One of my favorite parts from my son’s speech was a quote by Winston Churchill. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Too often individuals that I see at our Clinic try to keep everyone happy, all of the time. They twist themselves into knots to keep from disappointing people. But we can’t keep everyone happy. The best we can do is work to be compassionate while staying true to our own dreams. Our opinions and beliefs may run counter to others. That’s okay. Let’s be respectful, but get some dialog going! Your view of what your future should be—what you want to do—may not mirror the dreams that others have for you. But it is your life. To understand what you believe and what you want to fight for—you may have to journal to help clarify your thoughts.
Lesson 2 from the speech: Be willing to compromise on beliefs or actions that won’t violate your core self. Too often, we believe that our views are the only correct ones. We especially see this with politicians. My son’s lesson, taken from Model UN, is that when we get people together, we have to try and find compromises. We have to work to understand each other and come to a common meeting ground. But don’t forget Lesson 1, compromise is important but not the only requirement. It is also important to hold true to values and dreams that define you.
And, finally, Change: As my son gets ready to go off to college, I can already envision a new relationship developing between us. We will be moving to a relationship as adults. Yes, at the moment, I still have more control in the relationship. But that will gradually diminish. Down the road, I will be able to offer my opinion, but he will make his own decisions about his life and dreams. As we move along that road, we will need to compromise on our expectations of each other. And we will each offer our own opinions and views. We won’t agree on everything. But we will agree on one thing—that we love each other.
Journal about your opinions and dreams. What do you believe—write about it so that you can understand more about what is important in your life. What are your thoughts about family? How should family work to help each other? What are family members’ obligations? What can be expected from friends or family? What should you expect from yourself? What do you value—honesty, trust…? What will be important to you in the future—friends, work, a loving relationship, money, fame? Journal to discover what you think you need to have happen to be happy and why. What are your dreams for your life? What are your passions? What makes you feel alive? What weighs you down?
Journal about how you feel about compromise. What compromises have worked well in your life? Are there times when you felt you gave up too much? Within your family how were disagreements settled? In evaluations, I have asked individuals about how their families dealt with disagreements when they were away on vacations. I have received answers from clear compromise to escalating fights. So journal what you remember about growing up. How did your family handle differences of opinions? If you disagree with someone, how does that make you feel? What is the worst thing that can happen when two people disagree?
Journal about change. What does it mean for you? How do you feel about change? What is a good change that you have experienced in your life? What has been a difficult change?