My son graduated high school yesterday. Although it was 13 years ago, I still vividly remember his first day of school. Here stood this sweet, little boy with his Thomas the Tank Engine backpack, ready to take on the world. His world, at the time, was no further than our reach but to him it was still so big and unknown.
Here he is again with his backpack, not a Thomas the Tank engine although that would have been funny, but now his world is much larger and goes beyond anything we can grasp. I know he will take it on with the same dogged determination he has taken every challenge but to see my baby boy walk out of our world into his, leaves a deep chasm in my heart. I am sure this is the same for every parent whose child graduates this year.
In the spirit of being a father, I will dispense my wisdom to him and to all the graduates of the class of 2018 and beyond.
- Do not become a stranger to home, no matter how far you venture, and know you can always come back it.
- Continue to believe and lead others by example to do the same.
- Continue to make sports, both playing and watching, a big part of your life. Become a coach at least once; one time is all it will take.
- Sign up to volunteer and humble yourself for the sake of others. You have no idea the impact you will have on humanity by simple gestures of kindness.
- Stand for what you believe to be right and I pray the repercussions of being staunch in those beliefs are not too dire. If they are, you have many who will have your back!
- You will make new friends but never forget the ones who helped you get to where you are and the wonderful times you had with them.
- I hope you fall flat on your face and must rely on your own efforts to get up, but know we will always be right there behind you.
- Find every opportunity to have fun but also know when it is time to do work.
- Always say, “Why not me?” but don’t think you are entitled to it. You have to put in the work.
- Take risks when opportunities present themselves and do not be afraid of failure. Nothing is unrecoverable.
- Let me repeat, nothing is unrecoverable. Nothing is so final that you should despair. Never think you cannot find another way from failure and that includes school, work, life and relationships. This too shall pass.
- On partying and drinking – Greatness is never achieved while under the influence. Of the accomplishments I am most proud, they were never achieved by alcohol. On the contrary, my lowest moments are directly proportional to my BAC. Indulge but be smart.
- Search for adventures, always, and please tell us about them.
- Get in the habit of writing and never stop, no matter what it is.
- Chronicle the most mundane times of your life in both picture and video because someday, someone else will not think they are mundane at all.
- Discover that joy comes from giving joy not from attaining treasure.
- Kick the crap out of your comfort zone.
- Don’t be an idiot.
- Feed people, both friends and strangers. It is the most basic of human wants and the easiest way to bring joy.
- Don’t let this world harden your heart and don’t let those Capra colored lenses I gave you when you were little, fade.
- I pray the school of hard knocks is not too brutal and life lessons do not come with too steep a price. Again, nothing is unrecoverable.
- I pray you experience, someday, the same love I did when I first laid eyes on you.
May I present to you and the World, Jared Lucero, my sweet little boy for whom I could not be more proud. Good job J-ROD!