Graduates of the Class of 2019: After four long years, the moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived, and we here at The Kerrville Daily Times congratulate you for all the milestones and memories that have brought you to this moment.
But let us take a moment to remember this important truth: Today, although happy, is not an ending. The word “commencement” is derived from the Old French word “commencier,” meaning “to start” or “to begin.”
“To make an end is to make a beginning,” 20th-century English poet T.S. Eliot once said. “The end is where we start from.”
And so today, you begin. Today, you set sail on one of the greatest adventures of your life, that of adulthood. Various career choices lie ahead of you — perhaps, someday, marriage and family. The choices you have made up to this point in your life are the choices that have forged your character and opened the pathways to your future.
If there are three life lessons to take with you along the way, remember these.
First, be true to yourself. You will meet many along the way who will ask you to do things, to be things, that are contrary to who you are. You may be tempted; you may even fall. But carry close to your heart the values you hold dear and act in alignment with them, and when it counts most, you will steer the course rightly.
Second, know how much you have yet to learn. Socrates once said that true wisdom lies in knowing how little you know. Don’t be too proud to ask the hard questions and — when needed — to ask for help. Be a lifelong learner; reading often can take you farther than any formal coursework ever will. And whatever you do, don’t pretend you have all the answers when you don’t.
Finally, love others with everything you’ve got. You may never know the struggles and personal battles someone else is undergoing; it costs you nothing to be kind. Orient your life toward others, not primarily to self. Wealth, power and prestige will never be as important as human relationships; as Catholic spiritual writer Thomas Merton once wrote, it is the reality of the personal relationship that saves everything.
Today is your day! The whole world awaits you. Be a good steward. See what it is has to offer, and — more importantly — see what you have to offer it.
And don’t forget to write home once in a while. We’d love to hear what you’re up to.