Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Advice upon Graduation

Wing Biddlebaum became wholly inspired.  ... Something new came into the voice that talked. "You must try to forget all that you have learned," said the old man. "You must begin to dream. From this time on you must shut your ears to the roaring of the voices."
Wing Biddlebaum giving advice to young George Williard from Winesurg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson.

Graduation is a rite of passage - the change of child into adult, of student into mature, reasoning, intellectually sound man or woman capable of independent thought. Prior to graduation every waking hour was accounted for. Courses of study selected, books assigned to be read, and ideas vigorously pounded into your consciousness such that one wonders if the whole process is not unlike a bakery. That is that the whole thing is left up to the cook and not the ingredients themselves as to what is to happen. Flour, butter, and salt are all mixed in a bowl, rolled out, shaped and formed at the whim of the cook, and then baked. Who and what we are is purely a matter of what we are taught.

Celebrate - graduation represents your emancipation from thought control. For the first time, your thoughts are truly yours. And learning becomes an independent act that you choose to continue or end. Those who choose to continue their education become students of life. They seek out new information, new people, new ways of looking at life.

Learning is the acquisition of new knowledge, behaviors, or values. Prior to graduation, learning was the process of education and the imprinting of ideas by teachers. Going forward, the graduate must make the chose to learn. The danger is one of becoming habituated to the thoughts of those around you.That is to accept the world for what it is and not dream of what it could be.

The graduate, like the character of young George Willard in Winesburg, Ohio has the tendency to be too much influenced by those around him or her.The urge is to be like others, you hear their manner of speech and imitate it, but in doing so you are destroying the yourself. What are we, if not the sum of our dreams, hopes, and aspirations?

You must, as the old man advises, "shut your ears from the roaring of the voices," and dream. Dream as if you were still a child, wishing to become something new and different, and, maybe, one tiny piece of those dreams, hopes, and aspirations will be realized.

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