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To our graduates: ‘Things We Haven’t Finished Saying Yet’ you really need to hear

By Judy Clabes
KyForward editor


(First of two parts)


Sharing with you, 2014 graduates, on behalf of those who love you, this message I shared with my own sons as they were standing on the threshold of their futures, peering ahead, spreading their wings and ready to jump head-first into the great beyond. We know you are eager to get on with it. We have not forgotten the magic of youth or the promise or the giddiness. We have been where you are. But we have never been where you are going. There are things we want to be sure we’ve said – and things we’ll never finish saying, as our connection will never be done, and there will always be things we know but have not yet realized. But, before you go . . .


(Creative Commons)

(Creative Commons)

First, we love you. For the record, unconditionally, always, no matter what. Just want to make this perfectly clear.


Second, do your own laundry. Pay close attention, as this is code for cleaning up your own messes. You aren’t grown up and you can’t really know yourself until you get this. Whether you are in the laundry room or the board room or on the job site or in a personal relationship, this rule prevails. It leads to a keen understanding that living is work just as a job is work – and you can’t expect anybody else to do this for you. And in case you didn’t hear this: Don’t bring your laundry home. Clear?


Third, look. Listen. Think. Then argue. It was the incomparable Yogi Berra who said, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” So, look. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Listen to what others say. Think. Get in touch with your own thoughts. Think some more. Then you can argue. You can stand up for what you believe, after you’ve done your homework and know what that is.


Four, practice makes perfect, but not always. That’s OK. You won’t be great at everything you try; you may even be lousy at some things. Keep trying if you want to get it right. Still you might not, but you didn’t fail by trying. You are enriched, you’re smarter and you’re ready to move on.

Five, value is not the same as price. Don’t confuse the two. Most of the things you will eventually value most of your life will have nothing to do with money. Keep your perspective.


Six, follow your heart as much as your head, at least. If you are as smart as we think you are, you will listen to your heart as you make choices about how to invest your life. Find work you love. Love what you do. Embrace it passionately. Do your best, not because your work is worth it but because you are. John Stuart Mill said it really is of importance not only what people do but what manner of people they are who do it.


Seven, love yourself. You can never really love someone else as you should if you don’t love who are you. Develop a healthy self-respect and pass it on. When everything else is wrong, it is our personal relationships that pull us through.


(KyForward file photo)

(KyForward file photo)

Eight, don’t be in such a hurry. We know, there’s a lot to done and you are anxious to get on with it. But patience really is its own reward and there is a tomorrow. Always, always, there is a “what’s next” in life. Savor, savor, savor.


Nine, hard work doesn’t always pay off, but it’s the only thing that ever really does. Whether at work or at home, in professional or personal relationships – nothing good happens that isn’t the result of hard work.


Ten, be of good cheer. Good humor makes all things tolerable, and nobody likes grumpy. Laughter is internal jogging – it keeps the body healthy and the mind uncluttered. We’ll warn you now – you are entering a danger zone – the time of your life when you are inclined to take yourself far too seriously. Take a step back and remind yourself to take a good laugh now and again – and if you can manage to laugh at yourself, so much the better.


To be continued tomorrow . . .

Judy Clabes is editor and publisher of KyForward. This is an update from a booklet, “Things I Haven’t Finished Saying Yet,” she published several years ago. The booklet will be re-released later this year. If you have advice you’d like to see included, please email judy@kyforward.com

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