Later this spring, I have three nieces graduating from high school in three different states. Each young woman has a dream and a path they wish to follow. My own high school graduation seems so long ago to me and at the very least is three lifetimes ago. My path has taken unexpected turns and twists, but I continue to learn from my experiences. I find myself now following my original dream, I had so many years ago before I allowed practicality to push it down.
My sister Julie asked me to write something for her daughter, one of the graduates. Julie gave me a few ideas of what she wanted to say and what she emailed to me was better than anything I thought I could come up with. Her words were full of love and were straight from the heart, but I did my best to put her thoughts into my words.
When I graduated, I bitterly felt as though my hard work and successes in high school had been overlooked. I didn’t receive any awards or scholarships and even though I didn’t really expect to, I secretly thought that I would get something. What I didn’t realize at the time, that the work and achievements I made were really for myself. As long as I believe in myself, I can do whatever I put my mind to. After my graduation ceremony, I received a card with a handwritten note. I no longer have the card, but I still cherish the sentiment to this day. An adult in the community that I knew and respected took the time to tell me that she also believed I had been overlooked and she knew that I would be successful and do well. She was proud of what she had seen me accomplish. Her faith in me meant a great deal and many years later I wrote her a letter to say thank you.
I want Kristen, Megan and Jennifer to know that they matter and that their dreams matter and as long as they believe, they can do anything. The following is the poem I wrote for Kristen with many of Julie’s thoughts, but I think it applies to all three young women and really to anyone who dares to dream.
Poem for Kristen
When you wish upon that star,
Always remember who you are
Work hard and you will achieve
Whatever dream you can conceive
Be true to yourself and proud of what you attain
Success is so much sweeter when you don’t complain
Be brave enough to try your best
Put in the effort and don’t worry about the rest
Keep a smile on your face and a laugh in your heart
Never let anyone pull your dreams apart
Learn from your mistakes when you fall
Pick yourself up and try again with your all
Always be willing to help others out
Even if they don’t repay with anything but a pout
Surround yourself with people you love or respect
You will see in your success how this does reflect
Follow your passion and make it a living
Believe in those dreams and they will keep on giving.