GUEST COLUMN: Thanking soldiers should be a part of our culture
Friday, 15 June 2012 by Mark Magnan
I had the chance to attend the commencement ceremonies last Thursday night for the Belton graduating class of 2012.
It is always interesting to hear what our newest members of society have to say. I was impressed by the depth and feeling of the speeches that were presented.
The class, like society itself, is a cross section of a lot of people. There were many that were proud to graduate with honors looking forward to college. Many that put forth the effort to graduate in three years so that they could start their lives, whether it is early college or other interests. There were many that worked hard to do the best that they could to make their families proud. It seemed like each individual graduate had their own cheering section, a group that was especially proud when that familiar name was called out.
Families united in celebration with t-shirts, signs, and the chorus of elation when that moment came. The pride in their family member receiving the diploma recognizing the hard work that ends their public school education.
One of the speakers did pay special recognition to the parents of the students. I am sure each parent was thankful for his words because it often doesn't come from their own child.
That got me to thinking about the phases we go through as we grow to young adults. For the first few years we are totally dependent on the adults that we live with, we rely on them for everything. As we get older we learn so much from those parents. At this point in a child's life their parents are the smartest people on Earth. They know everything, they can solve any problem. They sometimes even seem to have super powers, knowing what is happening when they are not even present.
Then comes a phase of natural rebellion. The parent goes from the smartest person on the planet, to one that seemingly has lost all judgment. The parent's advice takes second seat to the advice of the child's friends and peers. All of a sudden those friends seem to know more than the older more experienced parents.
This period of indifference to the parents is a normal occurrence. It is what pushes a child to move on with their life and not live at home for the rest of their lives. It causes the child to learn valuable lessons because they refuse to take sound advice. It is a trying time for both sides and often leads to a stronger relationship on the other side.
As a child grows up the parents often differ on minor points. The mother would be happy to have all her offspring living comfortably at home for the rest of their lives. The father on the other hand, already has plans for that spare bedroom.
In the middle of this, the child struggles with many changes in their life. And has to navigate high school. Then think about the challenging world that faces them as they enter society.
It was good to hear the positive thoughts and comments from the graduates. Especially as we look around and wonder who will follow us and make the decisions needed for future generations. We also hear a lot about how American youth don't seem to be as intelligent as young people from other countries. But I am convinced we have enough young people here to accomplish the same spectacular milestones as the Americans from the past few generations.
But most of all I was happy to hear the emphasis on family. Hopefully this time of year brings the families together as they all begin new journeys. The kids off to college or a career, the mothers worrying about their babies out in the world, and the fathers as they gain extra space in the house for a man cave.
Belton set some records this year, twins holding the highest recognition in the senior class, the largest class to graduate and healthy growth for the school. But I believe our biggest accomplishment will go unrecognized, that being Belton High School sending 590 quality graduates out to better the world. It won't have to be big or flashy, but bringing the attitude and commitment of our teachers and parents into a world that could use a bit of good old small town Texan values.
Congratulations to all the graduates. May you see those dreams come true.