This is the time of year when families and schools are busy with graduations, preparations for summer and planning vacations. For Minnesotans, the advent of summer is always a most pleasant experience.
My wife and I earlier this week attended the graduation ceremonies of Edina High School to see our granddaughter, Allie Davis, receive her diploma. It turned out to be a truly delightful occasion with excellent music and a good pacing of events. But what struck me was the quality of the brief messages from the two students and one faculty member who were selected by the class of 2012.
In a sense, they all touched on the subject of barriers and the need for individual courage to overcome fear. Science faculty member, Steve Sanger, focused on transitions and the need for students to take inventory of themselves and then take the path that feels right for them. In essence, be true unto thy self. Student speaker Carly Crist spoke of fear and, in a very candid and friendly fashion, urged us to see barriers as challenging opportunities and to seize the initiative to overcome fear.
Finally, Cavonte Johnson whose life story has received considerable media attention spoke candidly with a splendid touch of humor about being Black and coming to an upper class mostly White high school. Again, it was a story of fear and the resolve to overcome that barrier and go on to achieve considerable academic, personal and athletic success. He appropriately reminded us not to make excuses for a lack of success but rather to summon the courage to recognize that we have no limits. Success is up to us.
I would add that Cavonte will be playing for the Gopher football team this fall.
The more I listened, the more I thought about our nation’s leadership who have allowed their fear of losing incumbency to paralyze any instinct of courage. How I wished that these three splendid speakers could be heard in the White House and Congress.
Perhaps a role reversal is in order.