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What will high school graduates have to say?

Thursday afternoon some 36 La Conner High School seniors will graduate in a ceremony at the football stadium. The weather forecast predicted sun and 71 degrees Sunday afternoon.

In every way the ceremony, the parties afterward and through the weekend, the summer and the year and decades ahead ought to be a time of good weather, smooth sailing, enthusiasm and optimism as these students, like graduates from high schools and colleges all over the United States, move forward into adulthood, jobs, schooling, independence, relationships and the zillion decisions they will individually and collectively make in the year and decades ahead.

Perhaps that will be true. Few of their parents and even fewer graduates will read this editorial. Whether they do or not, what are they saying and hoping for their future? Whatever the adults, however closely or distantly related – if at all – are saying and hoping about a bright future for these young people, what is in their young minds on the serious topic of the future of their world, of their lives?

Some concerns will be intensely personal. How many are grappling with alcohol or drugs, pregnancy, their sexuality, abusive parents or family members? Some have, or will, experience racism and sexual harassment. And a few will be in love relationships that are no less complex because they are healthy and mutual.

This is all projection. Better if we were in relationship with these seniors and they trusted speaking intimately with us.

On the larger stage but here at home, how many hope and plan to farm or fish or go into business or teach, as their parents do, in this community?

What are their concerns for salmon, orcas, farmland and forests? What about finding a place to live near here?

How about affording renting anywhere, whether it is while working or at school in the Skagit or in their college community?

No matter where they live or what they do, how are they reflecting on this adult world? What is their bigger concern, that a former president of the United States has been convicted by a jury on 34 felony counts or that millions of people think the trial itself was a political manipulation to take Donald Trump down?

Are they already hopeless and disgusted about the low level and immature civil and political discourse and, without ever having voted, have no interest in ever voting?

How many are wondering why adults of every age are not doing more to save salmon, orcas, forests and mountain and polar glaciers?

When they ask us why we let the glaciers melt, the sea levels rise and the planet get hotter, it will be our turn to answer.

They can fairly ask us about people immigrating here and abroad, seeking sane and safe lives in every region of the world.

Some graduates know that tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip and that these peoples have had their lives and society decimated by invading armies.

And if they ask us about men who preach of a loving God and following the example of Jesus on Sunday and why these same people support the work of people who act like the devil and their actions seem evil the rest of the week, what do we answer?

Will it be more of a wonder if high school graduates have each of these discussions with trusted adults as they find the courage to and the spirit moves them or will it surely be sadder if they hold these questions in their hearts and never have a single conversation with anyone of any age, related or not?

 

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