Editorial: Look beyond the presentsThis month students across the area will be graduating, either from high school or college.
This month students across the area will be graduating, either from high school or college.
We, like nearly everyone else, have words of advice for them.
In this time of high unemployment, layoffs and foreclosures, it’s not what you own but who you are that matters.
Despite “reality” shows whose winners win by manipulating others or cashing in on relationships, it’s not the number of people you climb over that counts, it’s the number you lift up.
Just look at the news. Each day reports of another scam or new revelations about what a scammer did to support a lifestyle others envied. A woman who used her company’s credit cards to buy jewelry and designer clothing. A man, now facing fraud and money laundering charges, who allegedly used ill-gotten gains to buy the best of everything, including mansions, boats and cars.
Or closer to home, people overwhelmed by debt because they bought trophy houses for way more than they were worth, or others whose credit scores have tanked because swiping a plastic card was too easy.
We, your parents and grandparents, probably aren’t responsible for nurturing the culture of greed that led to those excesses. But we are responsible if we don’t try to lead you away from that path.
Few of you will ever own more cars than you can drive or houses the size of castles and, believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
But each of you can change lives and that’s the best thing. Or really, not a thing at all.
And that is our message. Living a life centered on things, while it might offer a quick taste of pleasure, won’t bring you happiness. True joy comes from being needed and from having people you need.
We think you already know that, but just wanted to remind you.
So at your graduation party, look around at the people who planned the festivities, who chose the photos that tell the story of your life to date and bought the cake, look at the people who picked the cards and slipped cash inside or took the time to write the encouraging note and buy luggage or dorm room accessories.
You know it’s not the things piled on the gift table that matter, it’s the people who loved you enough to give.
We’re not going to lie to you – it can be a tough world out there. But we know that deep inside, you have what it takes to make a good life, and while we won’t even offer to solve your problems, remember that we will be here to help.
Be careful out there.