My great-niece is graduating from high school next week. Our other great-niece graduated last week. Her cousin graduated from college in May. When I look at their  senior or graduation photos I see in all of them an eagerness to get out in the world, to move on to the next adventure, a shining hope.

I’m proud of my young relatives who are closing the childhood chapters of their lives and getting ready to write the next chapter of their adult lives. What an exciting time! I hope they feel, believe, and know that the future is lined up with incredible possibilities.

When I taught their much younger counterparts, five, six, seven and eight-year-olds , I kept this quote on my desk:

America’s future walks through the doors of our schools each day. ~ Mary Jean LeTendre

Now my relatives and thousands like them ARE the future. I think we’re in good hands.

I’m proud to have influenced thousands of children in my years of teaching. I’m proud to be part of a family where my mother taught high school French and Latin, my older sister also taught elementary school, my great-niece is starting a teaching job in the fall, and my nephew’s wife teaches.

Just about every adult, and child, for that matter, is a teacher. Think of the pearls of wisdom laid at your feet … or sometimes repeated over and over, that gave you inspiration, a nudge/push, hope, information, a path to follow.

When my sister-in-law was  learning to deal with terminal cancer, a wheelchair became her most-used vehicle. When she had to go out, feelings of being incapable overtook her; she didn’t belong; she often said she’d rather stay home. Her “teacher” was her then eight-year-old granddaughter, who said, “Well Grandma, this is a free world. You can go anywhere.”

When I graduated from Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, Long Island and four years later from Wagner College on Staten Island, I had that same earnestness I read about on Facebook, and see in my relatives to succeed, to learn, to help people in some way. Though I am not in a classroom wielding a piece of chalk (now there’s an age giveaway) I’m happy I still feel that way today.

Congratulations to graduates–high school, college, tech school, martial arts, prep courses, citizenship class, driving school, and yes, to my great-nephew who graduated from elementary school.

Go for it!! Have an adventure!



Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships.