Well, here we are. Sitting in this stuffy gym wearing these unflattering robes, while the band is poised and ready to play “Pomp and Circumstance.” We’ve always known this day would come and, whether our teachers, our parents or ourselves are prepared for it, here it is. We’re about to take that giant leap in just a few minutes and after that, it’s time to make our own choices. No longer will our biggest decisions entail which person to ask to prom or which period would be the best to TA during. Now our choices will begin to revolve around which bills we need to pay and what job we want to be doing 20 years from now. And whether you choose to earn a degree, get a job certification or immediately start working, there are some universal choices that everyone should make to ensure a fulfilling life for ourselves and our families.
First is the choice of love. The time is almost upon us to stop being children and start being parents. Unfortunately, there seems to be an alarming trend in the breakdown of families nationwide. Parents are becoming too busy to involve themselves in children’s lives. Not enough of them are talking to their children about important issues, such as tolerance, suicide and drug abuse. Divorce rates are high and not enough children receive the proper attention or counseling during those rough times. All of these factors combine to make an unsteady environment for children of today and the future. Teen drug abuse is high. Teen suicide rates are high. And for some awful reason, kids even as young as first grade are killing each other.
Starting today, we have the power to change this. Growing up is an intimidating thing: a large, never ending cycle that we cannot slow nor stop but can only dig in deep with both hands and try to make an impact when we have the chance. Now, while we step into the leadership positions and train our children to inherit the future, we have that chance. When the time arrives, we must love and pay proper attention to our children and their lives. For it takes more than a breadwinner to raise a healthy child, it takes a loving and concerned parent.
However, please do not think that paying attention to your children every single day is the only thing you must do to raise them correctly. There are plenty of good parents that are extremely busy with their jobs and don’t spend us much time with their children as they’d like to. Their secret is that they live their lives setting a positive example for their children and peers to follow. I encourage each of you to live such a life, and hopefully you will do so by being a tolerant and accepting individual. I truly hope that everyone realizes that it does not matter what a person wears, where a person worships — if a person worships at all — who the person loves nor what shade their skin color is. We are all living, breathing human beings made from the flesh and bone, with red blood, strong souls and feelings that can be easily hurt. If you’ve already...