Photo By: Jenifer Miller Photography
We owe you an apology. I’m sorry for so many things happening in this world you are about to enter. I can’t imagine how scary it must seem to be entering a world filled with so much chaos. Being tasked with figuring out who you are and what you want to be is overwhelming by itself but doing that in today’s world is hard to imagine.
At a 9-year-old baseball game a few weeks ago, I watched a 16-year-old umpire be bullied by the adults in the stands over balls and strikes. I was embarrassed at the level of disrespect that grown adults were showing. The mama bear in me was hard to suppress. I was ashamed that some parents thought this was an example of acceptable behavior: That it’s OK to treat people, especially children, with such toxicity over trivial opinions as balls and strikes in little league games. After the game I apologized to him for the way he was treated and thanked him for continuing to umpire despite the challenges. His response was poignant: “I’ve learned the less I respond to mean parents, the more peaceful the game is. I know it’s less about the calls I made and more of a reflection of who they are as a person”……..talk about mic drop. In 2 sentences, this 16-year-old showed wisdom beyond his years and more grace and compassion than adults with decades of life experience over him.
In my 20 years in pediatrics, I’ve never seen more resilient young adults than you. You’ve weathered quite a storm the last few years. From a global pandemic to intense political contention, significant social conflicts, global wars, mass shootings, a constant barrage of social media venom. The list could go on. You’ve endured more in 3 years of high school than many have in a lifetime. You are survivors.
As you embark in this world, find the positive. Be the positive. Be better than the example that you may have been given or seen. Trust in the strength and courage you have been forced to acquire these last few years. You don’t have to know your exact path right now, just keep moving forward, discover your passion, and never stop trying to be better. The world needs your strength, your resiliency, your talents, and your compassion. Uncover the value and meaning in your failures, appreciate the process and the journey and you will do amazing things. I’m thankful my job gives me an opportunity to witness how bright our future is with all of you in it.
In the words of the great Dwight Schrute, “Be ready to face any challenges that may be foolish enough to face you”. You got this!!