Monday, May 15, 2006

I'm in Atlanta, GA at my niece's graduation from Emory University and it has touched me in a couple ways. First, at the end of the high honors special ceremony, which my niece was part of, all the graduates stood up and applauded the faculty who, like them, took on the extra work in the 11th hour of going for the high honors award, to mentor them along and jury their oral defenses. I am so used to hearing the self-centered, hip, ugly, disrespectful, cynical street-style language from young people today that I almost forgot that there are still people who apply themselves willingly and work incredibly hard, with so much discipline, to achieve something that doesn't necessarily pay off immediately. And that these kids so highly valued the adults who helped them. Second, I was pleased to feel the international nature of the makeup of the students and how many disciplines were represented, how many kinds of minds and personal interests can be accommodated in the educational system and the professional world, and they all make our world a better place. It gives me a small glimpse of the incredible diversity that enriches our life on earth and makes me wonder why people hate each other. Do the biology graduates hate the theater and fine arts graduates, for example, because they are different? Certainly not! It doesn't compute in my mind, in this day and age of global media connection, that people aren't truly interested in each other as fascinating, perhaps unexplored, components of themselves.

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