06/09/12 — Class of 2012: Life comes with its own set of truths

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Class of 2012: Life comes with its own set of truths

Every generation thinks it has a handle on how it will manage its responsibilities and possibilities better than those who have come before.

It is the bravado of youth and it is iconic.

So, it would be no surprise to learn that the young people who are graduating this weekend think the same thing -- that they know better than their parents' and grandparents' generations how to change the world.

Those of us who have already reached that conclusion once in our lives have some advice for those who will forever be known as the Class of 2012 as they take their first real steps into adulthood.

Unfortunately, just as our parents told us, we have the same message for you: There are things about this world that you can improve and change, but the basic principles will forever remain the same.

First off, you get what you pay for and what you work for. If you work hard at whatever career you choose, and you make it a priority to be the best, you will be. There is no magic button or shortcut -- you have to do the work.

Second, money does not buy happiness. Those who find a job they love are infinitely happier than those who choose a profession based on the paycheck. If you don't believe us, ask around.

Third, balance is the key. You need more than just work to stay happy. Remember to nurture other aspects of yourself as you pursue that dream job now and in the future.

Fourth, nothing is worth more than your honor and integrity. Sacrifice them for nothing. Remember that in the end, that's what people will remember, not what car you drove or how big a house you owned.

And last, but not least, at least for this list, give back. There is nothing more satisfying than the chance to make a difference in someone else's life. Pick a cause you are passionate about and do something to make your world a better place. You will be rewarded many times over.

As you move into the next phase of your lives, keep in mind the lessons your parents taught you. They know what they are talking about.

And, be brave. Courage and character are what have made America a place where futures are made. You have a chance to be your best self. Don't squander it.

We see a bright future ahead for you.

Congratulations on taking the first step toward making your dreams come true.

Published in Editorials on June 9, 2012 11:13 PM