Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To the Jordan High School class of 1995

Last Saturday, 20 members from the class of 1995 met to reminisce and reconnect.  It has been 15 years since we roamed the halls of Jordan high school.  With this reunion, we've now spent more time since graduation away from each other than our years spent together in school.

That blows my mind - how can we be that old where our time out of school has surpassed our time together!?!

15 years have come and gone, but I remember something funny that happened to our class.  I mean something really unusual.  Something that defies belief in today's society....  We all got along.  Don't get me wrong, our cohesiveness definitely wasn't the case in junior high and even during our junior year.  We had our cliques, our differences.   I bet each one of us, if we are being honest, could say we treated others poorly and were ourselves victims of being treated badly. But senior year we realized that this was it, after graduation we wouldn't see each other every day.  We'd maybe see each other every five years.  By the time we went on our senior trip to Wisconsin Dells we all realized the end of school was here and we were going to make the most of it.  We enjoyed our remaining days together.

I don't remember who gave our commencement speech, or even what the speech was about.  Maybe all of you have forgotten the commencement speech too.  Since I forgot that message, and since I've always wanted to give a commencement speech, I'd like to write to you as if the date is June 1995, and I am still a young kid, head full of hair and ambition, looking to make his mark on the world.

Congratulations to the class of 1995,
We are a unique and successful group.  Never before has a Jordan high school class been so successful.  We experienced state tournament appearances, conferences championships, not just in one sport in one season, but multiple sports in EACH fall, winter, and spring season.  Unprecedented.  But you know what I noticed. We did it all without superstar athletes.  Not one person from our class will go on to play at a division I college.  Because we worked harder than anyone else, we accomplished more.  You have proved that work ethic and team work is more valuable than talent.

Think back to 1st grade.  You were innocent, young, and knew what you were good at.  When you were in elementary school you listened to the voice in your head telling you were good at something.   It might have been doing art, music, fixing things, storytelling, or sports.  Whatever it was, it got you out of bed in the morning.   But somewhere down the line, something changed.  By the time we reached junior high we began to lose that first grade innocence and stopped listening to what we were made to do.   By junior high, the world, our teachers, and sometimes our parents told us it was more important to go after "safe" jobs that will pay the bills and support a family.   You started listening to others, rather than yourself. 

Start listening to that voice again.  When you're 35 years old don't stop listening.  Recall your passions and figure out a way to bring it back into your life.   Am I telling you to quit your job and try out for the Twins?  No.  That's not realistic.  But maybe at night, you turn off the TV, and tune into your strengths.   I'm NOT talking about the stuff you're good at.  I'm talking about the stuff that makes you lose track of time, the activities that make you come alive and make you feel strong.  Those are your strengths!  Rediscover your passion and figure out how to incorporate it into your job, or how you can do it on a small scale on the side on weekends.  

At the very least, teach your children to follow their dreams.  Instead of focusing on the F on the report card, have them focus on subjects they get an A in, subjects that they enjoy and have the capacity excel in.  Their growth will be in areas they are good in, if they focus all their energy on their weakness, life becomes boring, and the improvements minimal. 

More importantly, our time on this spinning rock is short.  Before you know it, we'll be celebrating double digit class reunions.  In that time frame, some of you will experience love on an incredible new level when your children are born.  Some of you will feel the pain of losing a loved one.  Unlike our senior year, we won't know when our time together will end.  But you must, just like the end of our senior year, make the most of your relationships with others.   

Don't wait until its too late.  Do it now.  Don't let high school or college be the best years of your life.

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