Hallelujah, it happened, he did it. Yesterday Son Alex graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in History. The path to his degree was circuitous, with stops and starts and turns, several hair colors including blue, red and yellow and a few piercings. But he stuck with it and because of a professor’s encouragement a couple of years ago, he was motivated to jump back in academia. When he graduated yesterday, he had on a white shirt and a black tie and a nice pair of black ear studs. His hair was his natural color. That he kept at it and earned his degree, made me proud.
The commencement ceremony, followed by the College of Humanities Convocation, provided for a wonderful day. Everywhere in and around the Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus were excited graduates, happy families and more smiles than you have ever seen in one place. Black gowns and mortar board hats with various colored tassels were everywhere. It was a thrilling place to be to participate in an event that caused such feelings of accomplishment and feelings of relief for graduates and families alike. But just as exciting for me was the feeling deep down inside that Son Alex, and each of these graduates, will venture out into life and accomplish good and wonderful things. We live in a life of contention where our own politcal leaders try to impede each other for personal political gain rather than attempt to advance us as a country or solve our problems. . The goals of our leaders and talk radio and cable tv performers appear to be that of I want you to fail, I want whatever you don't want. I don't want what you do want. The recent oil spill in the Gulf is a good example. Right wingers claiming President Obama wanted the spill to occur to stop future offshore drilling. No matter what you believe about offshore drilling, to accuse the President or anyone of being happy about such a devastating enviromental and financial disaster is just plain wrong, ignorant and evidence of politics of division and destruction.
As a student of politics and history for most of my 57 years I must say I have never been so disappointed in our so called leaders. I have never seen the horizon look so bleak as we as Americans seem to look for things that keep us apart and divide us rather than things that bring us together. Throughout our history as a country we have had differnces on goals and directions, but in times of need we have joined together. Not now. It seems to be the goal to destroy the opposition rather than solve the problems.
But yesterday as I listened to the commencement speakers I was inspired. It struck me that I need to do more in life. I need to help the community, I need to help mankind; I need to take action that makes the world a better place. I think I been trapped in a feeling of malaise believing its not worth the effort to try to make life better for more than just me. I work, I read, I play golf, I have a life with friends and family, but it occurred to me yesterday that I don’t give enough of myself to projects and causes that I believe in; to issues that are important to me. I need to inspire myself and those around me to take personal action to do right rather than just sit and allow those nay sayers around us to control our life. Each of us has projects, causes, or ideas that stir our soul but are we each doing something about them? I have been guilty of not doing my share, I hope to do better.
The keynote speaker yesterday was U.S. Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman Jr., a former governor of Utah, a republican who was appointed by President Obama to what possibly be the most important diplomatic post we have. His speech was down to earth, inspiring as he told the graduates that there would be hurdles along the way of life that would make them stronger, that they should never give up their dreams and that all things desired could be accomplished. I am simplifying his theme and I know these admonitions sound like the typical graduation speech but I must say, I found inspiration in them and a renewed energy to be better, and to do better.
So while it was Son Alex’s day to shine, his day to receive words of praise and words of congratulation, it was also a good day, no it was a very good day, for me. To see my beloved son achieve something of value, something requiring hard work, something that will affect him positively for the rest of his life quickened my heart. Thoughts of his success brought a few tears to my eyes. It was also a day of inspiring words which hopefully will remain with me more than a few days; which will prompt me to be more productive in the big picture of life. I hope to be more positive about the future.
A wonderful day was followed by a celebratory dinner at my Salt Lake golf club. Son Alex, his lady Sara, Alex’s mother, her husband Alan and me for an evening of toasts and stories. The five of us joined together to celebrate Alex. As friends entered the dining room for their own dinners, they greeted us and I, like proud fathers everywhere, announced that we were celebrating Alex’s graduation. My friends expressed words of congratulations to Alex making me even more proud.
Alex is going to travel a little this summer and his next path of life is graduate school where he plans to get his masters degree in Natural Environmental/Physical Geography with a focus on paleo environments. Don’t ask me what that is. I really don’t know. The best I can figure out is that he will be looking for live dinosaurs.
Go forth and do good.
Recently Read Books
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