Jewish World Review June 5, 2002 / 24 Sivan 5762
Dayle A. Shockley
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- Across America, students wearing caps and gowns are filing into auditoriums and football stadiums, anticipating that big moment when they walk across a stage and receive their high school diploma.
Some have soared to the finish line, eagerly absorbing information and making high marks on tests. Others have stumbled through, barely making the grade and hating every second of the learning process.
As the ceremonies come to a close, the graduates will move their tassels from one side to the other - a symbol of their new status in life. Some will toss their caps into the air in jubilation. Others will turn to a friend and weep.
There will be those who enter institutes of higher learning, while some will choose a vocational school or enlist in the armed services. Some will enter the job force immediately. Others will marry their high school sweethearts and start a life together.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to the graduates of 2002. Welcome to the real world. A world that often is unkind and unjust. A world that also can be remarkably good and rewarding.
As you make plans for your future, here are 25 things you should know that you probably didn't learn in school:
You have the power to keep a positive attitude, no matter what your circumstances are.
It never is right to do the wrong thing.
Telling lies is exhausting. Telling the truth will set you free, and even an ugly truth is better than a pretty lie.
Self-discipline is the key to success.
The Creator wants to be part of your daily life, but you have to open the door.
No day is more important than today, for tomorrow isn't here nor promised.
No matter what your vocation may be, you will have to answer to someone.
Marriage is a sacred covenant between a man and a woman and shouldn't be entered into lightly.
Don't use a handicap as an excuse to fail but as a driving force for succeeding.
Really listen to the old folks. They are wellsprings of wisdom.
People you thought you could depend on will let you down.
Living dangerously will catch up with you. And when it does, don't blame the Creator for your troubles.
No amount of book knowledge can make you a person of integrity.
Don't run from suffering. There are valuable lessons in life that can't be learned by any other means.
The most glorious things in life are free.
Never step on other people in order to get to the top.
Trying to be someone other than yourself is a strenuous exercise.
Don't put all of your energies into building palaces and empires; it only takes a moment for them to be ashes at your feet. Instead, build memories with the people you love, for memories always are with you.
The more things you acquire, the more problems you will have.
Have an opinion. The middle of the road will get you run over.
As you grow older, make sure you grow up as well. Nothing is more pathetic than an immature middle-aged human being.
Every choice you make will bring with it a reward or a consequence. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even next year. But it will come just the same.
Make time in your world for silence - time in which to think, to dream and to listen to that still small voice.
At the close of the day, capture some of your feelings and activities on paper, even if the words sound ridiculous. Consider it the writing of your story for future generations.
Live each day as if it were your last, because one day it will be.
JWR contributing columnist Dayle Allen Shockley is a Texas-based author. To comment on this column, please click here.