Graduation, the start of your adult life. Many would identify that as occurring at college graduation, but I disagree. While being at college for most students is a time when others are still paying the bills, it remains a time when you are suddenly and fully responsible for your own actions. This posting constitutes a speech, I suppose. When I think of commencement addresses, I think of bombast and stuffy declarations larded with lots and lots of advice. This is traditional, but I think it is misguided.
You and your fellow grads have shown a level of commitment and determination which is all too often lacking in American education these days. Drop out rates are far too high to be regarded as a minor problem; but this is not true for you. You have made it and you have made it with high grades and a very active schedule of activities. Bravo, bravo, bravisimo!
The only bit of advice I have to give you today is: Keep up the good work. You have shown the depth and strength of your character. Just stay on course. End of advice.
Right now is a time for celebration. I want you and all grads to have a purely joyful graduation. This is the moment in your life which will always the great watershed between childhood and adulthood, between dependency and independence. Whatever else happens, this is your moment like no other. The only event that equals this event is becoming a parent--and it not only equals this, it far surpasses it.
For you Josh, and for you Nora, -- know that I am here for you. I repeat what I have said before. A man may say to a colleague or guest, “Mi casa es su casa.” My house is your house. He may say to dear friend, “Mi casa es tu casa.” My house is thy house. But I say to you, “Mi hogar es tu hogar.” My home is thy home.
To put it another way, Robert Frost’s the Death of the Hired Man declares, “Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Not as warm a statement, since it implies more obligation than desire, but nevertheless also accurate. Should you fail to continue along the course you have followed to date, should you hit a reef or become stranded on a sand bar, even if you have done wrong and the disaster is your own fault, yet I will love you. And even then, Mi hogar is tu hogar. This is not to say that I would approve of bad decisions on your part, but it does affirm that my love is not conditional. Bad behavior, bad choices, bad mistakes are not to be tolerated and must be changed; but you will always be welcome in my home.
There is no more to say, but as I am fond of doing, I will again quote from King James: "Rejoice and be glad" Psalm 118:24.
Love, Papa: aka, Pops