21 May West Point Graduation Week – Day Two

You would think the incessant rain all day would have a cast a pall on the celebratory mood, but that wasn’t the case.  The last cycling ride with my son at West Point will have to wait until tomorrow… weather willing!  We actually had a relaxing day, and loaded one-quarter of my son’s stuff into the van we’ll be driving across the country the day following graduation.

For some reason today, I thought about a book called “Touching the Void.”  It’s the story of one man’s survival on a disastrous climbing trip.  The author was raised an Irish Catholic, but when he was facing certain death, he saw eternity as a void rather than salvation.  I think I thought of this because the events of this week provoke contemplation given the constant acceleration of time as we age.  Like the young people embarking on new journeys, I also want to spend more time planning the future than reflecting on the past.

No one could speak with these cadets and not realize they have the world by the tail with their whole lives in front of them.  Just because we’re parents of a cadet doesn’t mean we can’t have plans for our next chapter as well.  Seeing the cadets develop tremendously in just four years is a reminder of how the non-renewable resource called time can be leveraged or wasted.  I read a post called 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind, and the first five questions seem especially prescient:

  1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
  2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?
  3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
  4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
  5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I think the fifth question is the one most graduates will be asking themselves, but it’s the fourth question parents should ponder!

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