Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / May 17, 2000

Well, the big day is finally here for all the high school seniors! You are about to graduate. I realize that some of you have worked hard and did the verybest that you could. I also know that many of you just did enough to get by,your only concern was getting out of school.

To the seniors who will be receiving awards for their outstanding achievements: Your recognition at this time is well deserved.

My two oldest grandchildren will receive their diplomas Friday. My message tothem, and to all the graduating seniors of 2000, is to remember that mediocrity is the enemy of greatness.

To everyone who will receive a diploma: Let me remind you that graduation from high school is not the end, but the beginning of a new life. It’s time tomake some important decisions. If you have decided to further youreducation, you must decide which college you will attend and in what field you want to specialize.

To the young people who will enter the workforce: You must decide if you just want a job, or an opportunity to learn a trade and enjoy life while making a living.

I am reminded of something that I heard more than 30 years ago. It wasfrom a motivational lecture, and the speaker said, “Most people die at age 21; they just don’t get buried until they are 75 or 80.” I didn’t understandthat statement then, but now I know perfectly well that it means most people just exist. They don’t really live and enjoy life.My suggestion to all the seniors, regardless of what you choose to do with the rest of your life, is to cultivate a good, positive attitude. Yes, yourattitude will be an important factor on whether you fail or succeed. It will bemost instrumental in determining if you will only exist, or live and enjoy the rest of your life.

I remember one of my daughters coming home from school one day and repeating what her teacher had said. “Daddy,” she said, “did you know thatsuccessful people don’t have a good attitude because they are successful, they are successful because they had a good attitude?” Please allow me to encourage each of the graduating seniors to remember that America, with all her troubles, is still the land of opportunity. My prayerfor each of you is that you tackle the future with enthusiasm and a desire to make this world a better place in which to live.

I am also reminded of the remarks of the late president, John Kennedy, as he took his oath of office. He said: “Ask not what our country can do for you,but what you can do for our country.” The most successful people are thosewho are givers and not takers.

I’m excited about the opportunities there are available to all seniors. It’syour choice. Will you be a giver or a taker? Will you possess a positiveattitude, or be negative? Will you choose to live life to the fullest, or just exist? It’s entirely up to you! My gift to each of you is to say that I love you. If you love someone, you wantthe best for them. The best thing I can tell you to do is to get wisdom, withyour knowledge.

Where do you find wisdom? Wisdom is found in the Bible. I strongly suggestyou read and study God’s Word. It’s the best advice you will ever get. Whenyou read it, concentrate on I Corinthians 2:9. It says: “Eye has not seen, norear heard, nor have entered into the hearts of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” This promise is from God, and I know thatHe keeps every promise.

My wife and I send our congratulations and best wishes to all the graduating seniors of the River Parishes. May God bless all of you! Have a great life!

HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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