A Message for the Class of 2018

According to my research, this year’s college graduates are the tail end of the Millennial Generation.  Those of you graduating from high school are called “Post Millennials.”  Don’t worry, the media will come up with a catchier name.   

Unless you’re from my forgotten age group, Gen X.  Gen X?  This is what happens when you’re a small population segment following the self absorbed Baby Boomers, raised by the self proclaimed Greatest Generation.  Gen X?  Sounds like a prototype automobile that never made the showroom floor.

All this generational rambling probably has you thinking your 48 year old commencement speaker is having a senior moment.  I’m not.

Here then, are three thoughts for your consideration before turning your tassels.

  1. Disagreement
    Everyone who disagrees with you is not a “hater.”  Likewise, every person who voices an opinion is not “shaming.”   This is a result of political correctness and social media dumbing down society.  

    Disagreement doesn’t equal hatred.  Disagreement means there are opposing thoughts.  That’s a good thing.  

    As my wife once said to me, “if we never think differently from one another, one of us doesn’t need to be here.”  

    Call it constructive conflict.  Learn to disagree civilly.  Understand opposing views.  And stop going online labeling everyone a hater or shamer.  

    2.  Which brings me to “Safe Spaces.”  
    You’re demanding a place where your feelings won’t be hurt?  You’re an adult now.  Granted, the age of adulthood keeps rising in America, where one third of 30 year olds still live with their parents.  Which is one of the very causes some young people feel entitled to a safe space to protect their feelings.  

    Yes, we want you to be safe.  From actual harm.  Hearing thoughts and opinions that run counter to your delicate views does not threaten your safety.  They’re not “micro aggressions,” they’re just words!

    The only way to make a world safe enough for everyone’s feelings is to limit speech.  Half of your age group, according to a poll taken last year, support stricter laws on speech.  

    Think outlawing hurtful speech will create Utopia?  Ask yourself, who dictates what words and ideas are “safe?”

    3.  Confidence

    It’s good to be confident in what you know and what you can do.  The problem arises when you don’t know much and have done very little, yet, possess the confidence of someone who’s highly accomplished.

    I know, you have good grades, a shelf full of trophies, and your parents think you’re special.  None of that means you’ve accomplished anything.  Everyone has good grades now and we’ve been handing out trophies as participation ribbons for 20 years.  

    There are two kinds of confidence: confidence from praise and confidence from accomplishment.  Know the difference.  Then go about accomplishing all you possibly can.  

Time To Turn Your Tassels
If you disagree with anything I’ve said, that’s OK.  Your generation is going to be awesome.  If we could only find a name for it.  

Class of 2018, congratulations.

Damian Mason speaks on the subjects of business and agriculture all over North America.  His last graduation speech was as class president in 1988.  www.damianmason.com

Angie Carel