With white honor cords, red gowns, and a blazing sun: it was almost blinding.
At East High in 1992, Tagg Lain was my creative writing teacher. Today, he was the “Honored Teacher” and gave a powerful speech to the graduates and audience.
He spoke about how this class had healed the broken spirit of Central. That in the four years they were there, they had won every cheering contest at every pep rally, they had pulled together, and they had pride. That because of them, Central had their swagger back.
They did seem to have something special, or at least my son’s circle of track friends. They had large group lunches every week, a progressive dinner for prom, exceled at track, and graduated with honors.
They were a team. They lifted each other up, were kind, compassionate, and hard working. They had camaraderie.
He challenged them to do the same thing with the nation: heal America, help it find its swagger.
No doubt, they can do it. We all can.
Maya Angelou said, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Just think of what our world would be like if we were all kind to each other, always. What if our biggest concern was how we made others feel? What if we lifted each other up and were encouraging?
What if decisions were made with compassion and understanding? What if disagreements left you feeling respected and appreciated rather than hurt or angry?
I needed to hear this as much as anyone. I’m thankful to Tagg for the reminder.
As I watched the kids leave that day, I realized it wasn’t the gowns that were blinding, nor was it the sun. It was their swagger. It was how they made me feel.