If one is graduating, it’s fairly certain that they have:

been asked what they are going to do next

been given advice

been given more advice, often based on the advice giver’s experiences or observations

Only the treacherous offer advice that is not well-intentioned.  Some advice can be useful.  Some can really be awful.  Sometimes advice just opens another quandary of “is this advice I should follow?”

If you have never received advice, raise your hand.  See, I thought so.  Every one wants to give us advice, tell us what would be best for us.  Graduation time can be advice central, and as a parent, it’s really, really hard to know when to disperse one’s “expert opinion”.  Advice can also be very helpful.  Mentoring relationships can build learners capacities in unexpected ways.

Switching gears, in our place, littles are about and story reading out loud is a thing that happens.  Recently the story chosen was David and Goliath.  I’m sure that there are those who have read this story more than I have, but sometimes, it doesn’t feel possible.  When re-reading things though, sometimes different things pop out and strike a chord.

In my most recent readings of this story, before David goes to slay the giant, the king tries to give him his huge coat of armor to protect him.  After all, the king knows battle, David knows about shepherding.  David puts on the huge coat of armor and realizes soon “this won’t work,” and takes it off and goes to choose 5 stones instead.

That little moment resonated on the nature of previous generations desiring to prepare and protect younger generations.  Apparently, it isn’t a new phenomena.  While the coat of armor was indeed a useful thing to have in battle, the king didn’t anticipate David’s own capacity.

When I see graduates, I see that capacity… the David capacity to slay giants in ways that haven’t been done before.  After all, that is what we did when we were young, right?  Or were we tilting at windmills?

Either way, the beauty of a graduate is the hope they embody for the future of our world that they will realize, it is exciting.  The David’s all capped and gowned ready to take down giants in their own ways, with or without the benefit of protective armor.

Then I remember one of my favorite poems by Antonio Machado.

Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda

In translation:

Traveler, there is no road.

Make the road by going.

By going, you make the way

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