Alan Findley: A New Beginning for MPHS graduates |

Alan Findley: A New Beginning for MPHS graduates

Midlife Clarity / Alan Findley
Grand County, CO Colorado

Another high school graduating class is about to receive their diplomas and begin a new chapter in their lives. For me, this is an especially important time as my oldest daughter is among the graduates from Middle Park High School.

It seems like just the other day I was graduating from high school … amazing how 28 years can go by so quickly. If I were to offer any advice or suggestions to our new graduates, not that anyone asked me, here’s what I would offer to those who will listen.

Dear high school graduate (insert name here), Congratulations on completing an important milestone in your journey through life. You are about to embark on the next phase of your journey. As you prepare to set out on your own, either into college or career, here are a few thoughts to take with you that will serve you well along the way.

• Do what you love. Our world is filled with images and descriptions of what “success” is supposed to be, and somehow it always revolves around money. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making a good living and having nice things, but when money becomes your pursuit you will find that the reward is empty and unfulfilling.

Seek out and find what you love to do. We are all created with a unique set of gifts and talents – learn what yours are and put them to work. The things we truly love to do are those things that often make the most of who we are uniquely created to be.

If you make your life’s purpose and pursuit about putting your gifts to work for others, then you will have found rewards beyond your wildest dreams.

• Have an opinion. How many times have you heard someone spout off a statistic or “fact” that they read off the Internet? Just because you read it on Google, or saw it on YouTube, or read it in a magazine does not mean it’s true. Don’t base your opinion off of what someone else tells you or wants you to believe – go out and do the research and form your own conclusion.

Is global warming caused by fossil fuels or is it simply a natural cycle of the earth and solar system? Should our government be involved in the regulation of U.S. business? Should parents be stricter in how they raise their children?

I can give you my opinion regarding these questions, but you need to have your own answers. Know why you believe what you believe and be able to back it up with something more than, “cuz I read it on the Internet.” Don’t have an opinion because it is popular; have an opinion because you’ve taken the time to understand the topic and have formed your own viewpoint.

• Make a difference. Every step you take offers the opportunity to make a difference in the world. No matter how insignificant the act may seem, there are always repercussions to your actions (positive and negative). Whether it’s opening a door for someone, or saving someone’s life, there are traces of the interaction left behind that leave an impression on the people you touched.

Remember birthdays and anniversaries, teach someone to read, offer a meal to someone who is hungry, offer a hand and care to someone who is hurting, mow a neighbor’s lawn or shovel their walkway. Every interaction you have is an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life and the example you set is the example others will copy.

Sure, you can find a cure for cancer or end world hunger, but remember that making a difference starts with a single thought and a single action no matter how small.

• To my daughter, Kaylee: Congratulations on your achievement! Thank you for so many years of happiness and joy. It has been among my greatest treasures to have been your father and witnessed the wonderful woman you have become.

May God watch over you throughout your years and may He bless you as you have blessed your mother, sister and me. Go into the world and make a difference and touch the lives of many.

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