In the last month we have watched countless graduates finish their studies after years of diligent academic work in high school and college. These students have not had the traditional ceremonies that we all have come to take for granted. Instead, they have been awarded diplomas in whole new ways, with live streaming, parents and families in cars, or in drive-in theaters.
We all know this has been disappointing for these students after working so hard for years. Especially difficult was not having the last couple months to enjoy time with friends and all the special experiences that come with that winding down time in school. High school graduates are uncertain what the first year of college will even look like. Will the semester be postponed, will there be remote learning, or will school open with social distancing? This is not exactly the exciting freshman orientation I remember when I started college! College graduates face an uncertain future and job options due to the state of the world. Despite this I have been very impressed with the level of maturity and acceptance I’ve seen with so many our youth. You guys are taking it in stride, and it’s a really great message for all of us right now.
Kids who were born around 1998 and 2002 may go down in history as teachers for the rest of us. The coronavirus has required the world to develop flexibility, compromise, selflessness, ingenuity, grit, acceptance, detachment, perseverance and grace. It is true that our youth did not create the problems they are now being inundated with. They did not bring racism to the planet. They did not pollute the planet they inherited. They did not create open live animal markets where diseases can pass from wild animals to humans. So it is ironic that they will be required to solve these problems. Let’s all help them, appreciate and encourage them, and do our part.
Young people, you have been given a difficult task. But you are an innovative, creative, brilliant, hard-working, caring, amazing generation. That’s what I love about you guys. Together we will solve the problems we face as a nation and as a planet. And I have no doubt many of the solutions will come from the young people of today!
Graduates, bravo. Congratulations to you all. I take my hat off to you.