What are you going to be when you grow up?
This is the question that has alternately bedeviled or inspired young people _ particularly those completing their high school educations _ for generations.
Themes for high school graduation speeches tend to dwell on the fact that graduates are embarking on a new path, setting out on their own and making their way in the world for the first time. And that conversation inevitably leads to talk about jobs.
If recent history offers any clues to the future, the young people graduating from high school this year will be many things when they "grow up."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has been tracking a group of 10,000 Americans since 1979, when they were between 14 and 22 years old.
"So far, members of the group have held 10.8 jobs, on average, between ages 18 and 42," the Wall Street Journal reported in 2010.
That's an average of a new job every couple of years.
So how are young people supposed to plan for a lifetime of jumping from job to job _ particularly in a shaky economy?
It's not realistic to expect every high school graduate to have his or her entire career mapped out by the time they don a cap and gown. Heck, there are plenty of college graduates out there who are still struggling with that concept. But there are decisions that will have to be made.
For students entering college, they will soon be selecting classes and, eventually, deciding on a major. Other students will be entering the work force or the military. Some will begin a program of volunteer service with an organization such as Americorps or VISTA. Still others will be idle, trying to figure out the next step.
Each choice they make as they set out on these first steps of adulthood will influence the direction of their lives.
We live in a world that changes rapidly. Today's high school graduates barely knew a world without the Internet, cellphones and social media. We can't imagine the changes they will witness during their lifetimes.
So, rather than asking graduates what they want to be when they grow up, we ask them:
What do you love?
What are you good at?
What are you passionate about?
What brings you satisfaction?
If today's graduates can find ways to spend their lives doing the things that answer these questions, it will not matter how often they change jobs, or how many degrees they hold.
If today's graduates can achieve such a marriage of ability and affinity, they will be able to respond to the question, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" with the best answer of all:
What are you going to be when you grow up?
Casino in our area worth talking about
If Gov. Andrew Cuomo has his way, casinos will be awarded to three upstate locations.
Public financing could cure pols' paranoia
Paranoia is an irrational fear of persons, places or events that have no basis in reality.
Resort proposal is just too big
Belleayre Mountain Ski Center is a New York state taxpayer-owned recreational area. People who have paid for BMSC with their hard-earned dollars should not have to also pay for the infrastructure necessary to assure an enjoyable ski experience for the visitors to a private developer's monster mega-mall/spa resort on a mountaintop.
Take precautions to prevent kidnappings
It has been nearly two weeks since the arrest of Ariel Castro in Cleveland on rape and kidnapping charges for acts that should send a chill through the spines of everyone in America.
Redistributing wealth just isn't fair
Yesterday a dozen of us were eating lunch in the break room where I work, most of us complaining that all we could afford was peanut butter and jelly and bologna ... except for Rob.
Hoping many will adopt a grave
It's that time of year again; adopt a grave. I am hoping when you buy flowers or a plant for a family member or friend's grave that you will buy some for another grave. I wish everyone would open up their heart and honor someone else by putting flowers on their grave. My hope is that groups, families and youth groups adopt a cemetery or a grave, and at least once a year that person or persons will be remembered. I started out with two and now am up to 14. It doesn't have to be expensive; just what your heart tells you to do.
- Thursday, May 16, 2013
IRS, Justice actions violate our trust
After the recent actions of the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Justice Department, belief in the integrity of our government is hanging by a very slender thread.
Blame Dems for Social Security woes
In his inaugural address President Kennedy said: "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.'
- Wednesday, May 15, 2013
After 40 years, it was time to get married
This newspaper publishes lots of wedding announcements, but one that appeared prominently in Monday's edition was especially heartwarming.
Newman housing would benefit city
I would like to comment on the excellent letter written recently by Alan Cleinman concerning the "Newman Development."
Paying what you can afford won't work
Our president said:
- Tuesday, May 14, 2013
To three longtime public servants who recently announced their decisions to leave their posts.
What will happen when Manor is gone?
Iâ€™m writing this letter as I was unable to attend the Otsego Countyâ€™s board meeting in regards to the sale of the Otsego Manor. My grandmother is 75 and resides at the Otsego Manor; she has for the last three years. The county has a lien on her home to recoup money that they have spent out in regards to Medicaid. My family does not mind this as we are thankful the staff is able to provide the care we cannot.
We must move ahead to thrive
Recently, we had some compelling letters and opinions on the gas industry and how it can benefit local economies. Marie Lusins' letter explained how the Manor home and its woes could be, or could have been saved with vertical-well gas drilling.
- Monday, May 13, 2013
Military culture of abuse must change
Public scrutiny crucial to governing
We in Delaware County are often asked by Otsego County residents why there is not a stronger county-wide response to fracking or pipelines or the closing of county homes.
Pa.'s water troubles may help New York
The biggest concern I hear from my neighbors about New York state developing natural gas has to do with drinking water protection.
- Saturday, May 11, 2013
Remember mothers on their day
Passenger trains could ride again
It has been in the news recently about how more and more people are riding on Amtrak trains these days. I wish there were more passenger trains nationwide. Passenger trains have not gone through Oneonta since the early 1960s. At that time, the automobile took over and our new interstate highway system was formed.
Pipeline won't spell destruction of park
I live in the city of Oneonta. There are sewer lines, gas lines and telephone poles surrounding me. The street my house is on has constant vehicle traffic, joggers and walkers. Even so, I have to treat all of my flowers and shrubs to prevent the deer from eating them. (Even on my front porch and rear deck.) There are lots of birds. There would probably be more if the squirrels did not eat the bird seed. I must be careful not to leave a door ajar or the chipmunks will come into my house. Daily, I see rabbits, raccoons, woodchucks, wild turkeys, skunks and fox. Last year, I think I even saw a coy dog.
- Casino in our area worth talking about