Many older folk, watching the graduating class of Ladysmith Secondary celebrate their final hours as students, might not have been able to remember what it was like being so young, so excited.
Maturity brings its pleasures and rewards, but often dulls the senses and – alas – dims hopes. The fully fledged adults mingling in the crowd could be excused for a few thoughts not entirely in sync with the vibrant moment, a few reflections on how the world has changed, how big its challenges are.
First, there’s the environment. Daily the burden of human activity weighs more heavily on the planet. Incrementally the temperature warms and our leaders seem either too short-sighted or ideologically blind to address the crisis.
Then there’s the burgeoning populations of the developing world, demanding its share of the good things in life. The billions in China, India and Africa won’t let what they see as the privileged elite in North America and Europe retain a position of affluence forever.
Militant groups the world over are prepared to impose radical and restrictive ideologies. They are increasingly sophisticated in their methods, and are forcing the ‘free world’ to impose ever more pervasive forms of surveillance and control on its citizens. Can freedom survive?
There’s no shortage of issues that might cause an older spirit to look wistfully at the Class of 2015 and wonder what their prospects will be in the coming 50 years.
There’s two ways to shake your head: side to side, or up and down. Looking at the energy, enthusiasm and maturity of the students celebrating their day, we can only hope they will be able to negotiate their way through the difficult world they are inheriting.
We can only shake our heads in the affirmative and say: Go for it! Because the continuing stream of bright spirits that are graduating into adulthood every year are the only hope we’ve got.
They are the future.