An open letter to high school seniors


Mt. Pleasant News

This May is a big month at the Kelly residence. For the very last time, my parents are going to send a child off to a high school graduation ceremony. My little sister will be walking across the stage at Danville High School on Sunday, May 17, to receive her diploma and then BAM, my parents? world will be forever changed.

Needless to say, the emotional tension in my parents? home right now is at about a 7.5 on a 10-point scale, and with each passing day the stakes are a little higher than the day before. Add to that the fact that my sister and her best friend, (who my parents consider an honorary daughter) are having their graduation party at our house an hour after the graduation ceremony is over; and suffice it to say I have never been so glad to be living in an apartment almost 40 minutes away. I have been through the melodrama of my older brother?s high school graduation as well as my own, and I vow to do everything in my power to avoid the inevitable when my family has a mental and emotional breakdown all at once.

The thing that I can?t help but avoid, 40 minutes away or not, is the fact that not so long ago I was where my sister is right now. The anticipation of graduation day, the sad feelings of slowly saying goodbye to friends you have grown up with, and the fear that you don?t want to admit is there, all make you feel a little out of sorts.

For any high school senior who is reading this right now, know that all those feelings are perfectly normal. Take this free nugget of advice from someone that?s been where you are - just have a good, long sob when you are alone in your car or taking a shower. Letting your emotions out makes things a little easier to manage and you don?t have to go through the awkwardness of people seeing your ugly cry when you lose it in front of everyone at graduation?yes, I am speaking from experience.

It?s easy to get caught up in the moment of senior year and think you have to be one of those kids who just can?t wait to graduate and move as far away from mom and dad as humanly possible in order to be your own person. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with being Mister or Misses Independent, don?t wish away this last month too fast.

As an adult, I don?t see my parents as much as I used to when I was still in high school and living at home. Our parents teach us a lot in 18 years, so drink in those lessons before they are harder to come by. It?s okay to spend a weekend with your parents just for the sake of spending time together. Who knows, there may be a few times in college and beyond when you wish you could enjoy the presence of your mom or dad just to feel at home again.

For my sister, I wish her all the happiness in the world. I want her to see her dreams and go after them with all her heart. I want her to know that mistakes are always right around the corner, but that those slip-ups don?t have to define who she is or dictate where she goes in life. And as easy as it is for me to tell her right from wrong, I want her to use her moral compass, even when it would be easier not to.

I want my sister to strive for the path of goodness and morality because if my past has taught me one thing, it?s that the path of righteousness is the only avenue worth taking.

Most importantly, however, I desire her to become the woman God wants her to be. As an adult that?s made a few bad choices along the way, I know well the wicked ways of the world. I know the ways people can get off track in the pursuit of what they think will make them happy, but the pursuit just ends up making them feel lost and empty.

For seniors in Henry County and elsewhere, know that true happiness comes when you live your life for the Lord. So, as you begin to leave one chapter of your life and begin another, live out righteousness boldly in your life. Take the high road when you could do otherwise, and never forget where you came from and the people that made you the person you are.

Congratulations Class of 2015! The wide-open world is waiting for you.

Oh, and before I forget, give your mom and dad a big hug the next time you see them because let?s be honest, they need it and so do you.