I had the privilege of speaking to the graduating class from Camptonville Academy a week ago. I used part of that speech for my column that was in the paper today.
Here is the excerpt that was this week’s column:
In that blink of an eye that passed from your babyhood until this moment, your parents did a lot of holding on. They held onto you, walking a groove in the living room floor when you had colic as an infant. Your parents held onto you when you were 8 years old and puking in the middle of the night—and they didn’t let go.
They held on to the armrest and prayed fervently while you were learning to drive. All of those moments were perfectly and completely ordinary. And yet, that string of ordinary moments led you to this extraordinary moment in which you hover on the brink of adulthood.
How will you achieve success in life? In addition to mastering the perfectly ordinary, you will need to fail at something.
Perhaps you will be particularly blessed and you will fail at many things. It is in failure that the seeds of success are planted.
Thomas Edison reportedly said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Do not give up.
There will be times in your life when it seems that all you do is get up, get dressed, go to work, drive home, make dinner, wash the dishes, feed the cat and fall into bed only to wake up the next day and do it all over again. You may be consumed by the ordinariness of it all and you may fret that you will never achieve your goals.
Do not give up.
Remember that a goal without a plan is simply a wish. So set your goals and then realize that a series of very ordinary steps will help you to achieve them.
Recognize that how you handle yourself in the ordinary moments of life defines how extraordinary you will become. In time, those ordinary moments will weave together to create a beautiful tapestry that is your life.
If you are blessed, you will someday hold onto a crying child and wear a groove into the living room floor as you try to get that child to go back to sleep. And you will hold onto a child who pukes in the night, and even though you want to, you will not let go.
Later you will hold on tightly to the armrest as your child learns to drive, and you will pray. Fervently. And then some warm May evening you will sit at a graduation ceremony and listen to a speaker drone on about something or another, and you will realize that this is what it means to be successful. And you will learn, as your parents now know, that all that holding on has led you to a time of letting go.
Your family—as crazy and funny and out of the ordinary as they may be—your family has created you. Your time together has shaped you. Your family is proud of the fact that many ordinary moments you have cobbled together to bring you to this day.
You might choose to go to college, join the military, get a job or maybe do some traveling at this juncture, but the one thing you will never do is you will never stop learning. You have the skills and the tools to become a lifelong learner.
This ordinary homeschool mom congratulates you—and your family– on your success.