It's still worth listening to the little voice inside you that tells you to do dumb stuff

Graduation Issue

There are many voices going on inside my head at any given point.

But there are two distinct voices that seem to consistently compete. Both voices have grown equal in strength, and both have value and a place. However, knowing what is needed and when it is needed, that is what keeps me up at night. I'm thinking about ideas — ideas that will lead to actions that will speak to who I am and what I stand for.

The one voice that I often feel like I am expected to speak to is that of the adult, concerned with safety and security, responsible for those around me. This is the voice that tells me to consider my options, take my time, think through the consequences. This voice is one acquired through experience and fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of pain. Fear of embarrassment. Fear that I am not strong enough to live with the cost of foolishness that following my heart often leads to. With this voice, I am seeking to protect, which is sometimes needed. But I understand protection comes at a cost as well. That cost is growth.

The voice, however, that is closest to my heart and spirit is, well, that of foolishness. Of blind playful rebellion that seeks to challenge the status quo.

This is the one I am reminded of most by my students. This is the voice that keeps me growing, keeps me questioning, and, honestly, keeps me sane.

This is the voice I would like to offer you as we part ways.

Do stupid stuff!! Challenge ideas that everyone else accepts. Fight for the absurd. Take on the unwinnable battle. This is how you will reach stability, through painful lessons, humiliating gaffes, and the unexpected turns. This is how you will keep growing. Stay vulnerable — fight to stay alive — fully feel the sadness that comes with life and fully embrace the joys of life with absolute abandon.

There will be very intelligent people who seem to know the answers. Watch out for those guys. Listen and be aware of people who have experience, who have knowledge, who have something to lose. However, hold all of this in the light of who you are and what you know.

We need you. The person sitting next to you needs you. Nope, you are not perfect. You are not always going to make the right decisions. You will say the wrong thing. And that is OK — no, better than OK. That is progress. People do not gain strength and stability by being perfect, making all the best decisions. We gain strength and stability through challenge and the expectation that there will be disruption.

Be that disruption. Be the one who asks the questions. Be the one who is not satisfied with "Well, that is how we have always done it." Be our transformation.

As you age you will become more cautious, sober in your judgments — but that will be hard-earned awareness. You will learn who to listen to. You will learn who to trust. You will learn who you are. But this takes time. Give yourself that time and grace for transformation. Do not take "their" word for anything. Go out and experience life. Make lots of mistakes. Challenge our dragons and our heroes. That is what we need. ♦

The Wizard of Oz @ Spokane Civic Theatre

Thursdays-Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. and Sundays, 2 p.m. Continues through Oct. 16
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