Graduates, a Messy Opportunity Awaits
by Marvin Pirila
This summer, our high school graduates begin their respective journeys into school and work. As they do, many of us wonder what lies ahead for them. The world seems to be unraveling, albeit not for the first time. Booms often follow recessions, just as spring follows winter, and summer follows spring. This spring ushers in new hope as many graduates begin their new lives as adults.
New graduates are the hope and future of our great country, and now, perhaps more than ever we need their leadership, courage, and enduring perseverance. The foe that lies ahead is, for the first time, within our own borders – debt, dysfunctional political factions, excessive regulation, overwhelming debt, and politically motivated news. Their battle is an internal one that will decide whether the U.S. remains the strongest democracy in the world or becomes just another country. At stake are our individual freedoms and the American Dream of prosperity.
If they can only avoid the pitfalls of our generation, they can become the lasting light that will guide this country for centuries to come. Collectively the nation needs to pay its national debt while fully funding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (making this money off limits for other purposes). Candidates, selected for values and principles instead of party affiliation, must be limited to two-terms. Life must trump abortion, holding God’s laws above man’s. Government must shrink in size and scope (regulations) to increase private participation. Accountability and responsibility, on personal and government levels, is critical. There must be unbiased news (unmoved by political motives); transparency; and honesty from our leaders.
Individually, each person succeeds by remaining moral, honest, and true. Families must come first and the sanctity of marriage held sacred. There are simply too many broken families, divorces, and single parent homes. Life may seem to pass you if you aren’t doing everything, but the truth is that life passes you by because you are trying to do too much. The country suffers when individuals suffer.
Dare to dream great dreams. Find your passion and work toward it every day, if even for moment or an hour. It is important to keep it always in front of you like a beacon drawing you forward. Laws of nature dictate that a seed, when nurtured, will produce fruit. Nurture your dream.
The key to personal happiness is in the framing of goals and desires. Goals must be realistic and achievable, not idealistic fantasy, which invariably ends in disappointment and depression. Avoid setting goals such as grades or milestones, and instead make them about character, integrity, and work ethic. Working hard and getting a B is better than being lazy and earning an A. Be honest; your growth may be slow but will be steady and on solid footing, rather than facing inevitable collapse.
Be patient in your endeavors and success will come. Castles were built stone by stone over many years, much like a successful life. Instant success is rare, and lacks lasting fulfillment. When something takes a lot of work and time, the feeling of success is more complete – and well earned.
Welcome failure, because failures are stepping-stones to success. The knowledge one derives from each failure is what leads to success. No one, except God, creates anything perfect the first time. Enjoy the process, the small failures and successes, because they are part of the pursuit of the dream.
The ultimate success in one’s life comes after you have filled the hierarchy of needs. The importance of a healthy marriage or relationship is that the support and stability will increase your odds of success. Once you have met your basic needs you are able to pursue your dreams feverishly. Until that time, you spend a lot of your time fulfilling the needs for everyday life, often lacking the support you need to chase your dream.
You must balance the demands of life, family, and work to be truly happy. Anything more is simply icing on the cake. With self-discipline, vision, and integrity you can resurrect our country, return it to greatness, and find the future you’ve dared to dream.