In the midst of a pandemic — seniors will grow and lead

This would have been graduation week with another successful group of seniors headed on to life after high school. The last month of having seniors in the building has always been eventful. Except this year! They have not been here since March 13. Weird, odd, unfortunate, bizarre, unlucky – the list could go on and on.  

Many variations of “graduations” have and will take place. SHS will formally graduate the Class of 2020 on July 11 at BHSU’s Lyle Hare stadium. The plan is to have this ceremony be as normal as a commencement exercise can be. The class of 2020 deserves nothing less than that. In the year of the abnormal – some resemblance of normal is needed. Graduation is the most important thing we do.

We do everything possible to prepare our students for college and careers, but each still must also expect the unexpected. Life is about that. This year is all about the unexpected. Seniors need to be ready for what they have yet to be confronted with. Life is packed full of curve balls, not just fast balls! We won’t let this be a no hitter. SHS seniors will adapt and hit this out of the park. Give them time.

Frequent readers of my columns know that I like to use and quote Jon Gordon.  His letter to the 2020 graduates is below.

Dear Graduate,

This virus may have stolen your senior year and graduation, but it cannot and will not steal your future. While you will always remember this painful time, you’ll also be the generation that doesn’t take anything for granted. You know what it’s like to have something taken away from you in a moment and as a result you will appreciate what you have when you have it. You’ll value your relationships, make the most of your opportunities and create a great future. I know it’s easy to be bitter about what happened but choose to get better. Don’t look backwards. Look forward. Stay positive. Work hard. Believe the best is yet to come. What you believe will determine what you create. In this spirit here are 11 lessons I want to share with you from The Seed to empower and inspire you on your journey.

1. You are here for a reason and the most important thing you can do in life is to find, live and share your purpose. It’s the one thing in life that truly matters and if you don’t pursue it, everything else is meaningless.

2. Follow your passion. It so often leads you to your purpose. You may not know what your passion is right now. That’s ok. The important thing is to make it your life mission to find it, live it and share it.  To help find your passion, seek out jobs and experiences that allow you to use your strengths and talents. Do what you are good and what energizes you.

3. Beware of hobbies. Just because you love to cook doesn’t mean you would enjoy owning a restaurant.

4. Quit for the right reasons. Don’t quit because work is hard or you’re experiencing challenges. Quit because in your heart you know there is something else for you to do. Quit because you are not benefitting yourself or the organization you work for. Quit because you are absolutely certain you are no longer supposed to be there.

5. Learn from every job and experience. Every job, good or bad, prepares you for the work you were ultimately born to do.

6.Your job may not be your ultimate purpose but it can serve as a vehicle to live and share your purpose.

7. Whatever job you take after graduation simply decide to serve. When you serve in small ways you’ll get more opportunities to serve in bigger ways.

8. Your dream job is likely not the one you dreamed about. So often we end up in amazing careers that have nothing to do with our college degree or childhood dreams.

9. The quest for your purpose is not a straight line. It is filled with mystery, signs, obstacles, victories, dead ends, delays and detours. Your job is to stay optimistic and faithful on your quest.

10. Don’t rush the future. There is a process that seeds must go through in order to become all they are destined to become, and you must go through this same process to become the person you are meant to be and do the work you are meant to do. You may want things to happen NOW but more than likely if you got what you wanted NOW you wouldn’t be ready for it. The purpose process prepares you, strengthens you, shapes you and grows you to be successful, not in your time, but in the right time.

11. Be the Seed. Seeds surrender themselves to the ground so they can be used for a greater purpose. Wherever you work, decide to plant yourself where you are and allow yourself to be used for a greater purpose. When you plant yourself and make a difference you grow into the person you were born to be and produce a harvest that will benefit others and change the world.

Seniors – you haven’t graduated but you have met the requirements to graduate. We are just waiting for July 11. From now until July 11, think about this advice (again from Jon Gordon)

Don’t get bitter...get better

Look forward...not backwards

Win Today….Don’t worry about tomorrow.

What you believe will determine what you create.

Stay positive.

Adapt and innovate.

The class of 2020 will persevere.  Our future is bright as this class has endured and will lead us to great things.

If you stop focusing on all the reasons why you can’t do it, you just may surprise yourself to see what you can do.” ~ Frank Sonnenberg

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