May 31, 2022 Submitted by Glenn Mangurian
Dear High School and College Graduates,
Congratulations to the Class of 2022!
Your hard work, dedication, and mental toughness have led you to achieving this great accomplishment. Years from now you will share stories about going to school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Commencement speakers, teachers, family and adult friends will offer advice as you start your transition to adulthood. There are several recurring messages that you will likely hear. Speakers will tell you to discover your passions, follow your dreams and channel your talents to make a difference in the world. That’s what I was told and it was good advice. My advice is a little different.
Learn How to Authentically Say “I’m Sorry”
You are human and make mistakes – whether intentionally or not. It could be an off handed comment or acting in an insensitive manner. Sometimes those mistakes adversely affect and even hurt others. You may not even know it at the time but eventually someone will point out your negative impact on others. The most common mistake you will make is confusing intent and impact. You may not intend to offend someone but the impact of your words or actions can be very negative.
What do you really mean when you say “I’m sorry”? Some of your peers have learned to use “I’m sorry” as an excuse when caught in a wrong to lessen the punishment. That won’t hack it as an adult. It’s easy to see right through that as an insincere apology. Here is a common half-hearted apology – “If you were offended by what I said, I’m sorry.” Here is an authentic apology – “What I said was wrong. I am truly sorry.” You own up to the negative impact.
Not apologizing when you are wrong can be damaging to your personal and professional relationships. It can also lead to anger, resentment and hostility that may only grow over time. An apology alone doesn't erase the hurt or make it okay, but it does establish that you know your actions or words were wrong and that you will work to prevent them from happening again.
Welcome to the World of Adulthood
We call the graduation ceremony “commencement” because it is the beginning of the next stage of your lifelong learning. You have been waiting to be an adult and that time has arrived. With adulthood come increased responsibilities and many opportunities. Mark commencement as the end of one chapter and the beginning of a new, even more exciting one. The world needs your enthusiasm and optimism more than ever.
Be courageous and go with Godspeed,
Glenn Mangurian is a Hingham resident of over 35 years. His book, Pushing the Edge of Thought, Possibility, and Action, is available on Amazon. He welcomes your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
1 thought on “OPINION: An Open Letter from One Senior Citizen to Many Senior Graduates”
Good advice, Glenn. I hope the “Class of 2022” takes it in – learning to genuinely apologize when you’re wrong, or insensitive or hurtful will serve you in good stead of the rest of the graduates’ lives.