Ladas Hoopes McNeill

Ladas Hoopes McNeill
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Taste of Muskegon

Taste of Muskegon
June 16th and 17th

Monday, May 15, 2017

Andy O Editorial - To The Class of 2017

To the class of 2017

It gets to be about this time of year and I get to thinking back about my graduation all those years ago.  It was a while too…I remember my parents going to their 25th class reunion vaguely, and I thought “25 years out of school?  How the hell old are these people?”  Well, let me tell ya they go by quick…and I mean quick.  If you blink you’re going to miss it.  




While waxing nostalgic about those days, I usually try to think what very honest truth would I have liked to hear from someone a little older than me…if I had one honest piece of advice would I use it?  I have written a few I don’t remember the specific topics, but they usually center around being yourself, empowering others etc…I like to build up people…it will make everything in your life better if you do the same.  Those were years past, but this year…I don’t have any pearls of wisdom to go droppin’ around.  No, in fact this year I am afraid I have to turn to you and ask a favor.  I am asking because it’s going to take a few minutes to try and help fix, so if we get to work now, maybe we can get there.
  
I need to ask you the favor because us “grown up’s” have seemed to drop the ball.  See up here in the “big leagues” people have forgotten that the collective differing of opinions and discord are what everything in the USA was based upon.  It’s become a very scary area with nothing but polarized opinions…. instant on demand everything….and an extremely self-serving mindset where nothing or no one matters but number 1.  We seem to have forgotten that our communities are ours…we are the fiber of a country, yet increasingly, all we are given is a more and more centralized information.  We all think our issue is the most important one ever, and if anyone dares question it, they are the enemy.  People who were always “happily in the middle” are becoming harder and harder to find.  They have retreated to avoid the vitriol spewed back and forth among friends and family because that’s what they see on tv day in and day out.  They are glued to their brand of news and they are well practiced in the arena of argument, because they have a steady diet of it.  

There are those who put profits before people…and they have seem to forgotten that it was those people who made them those profits.  We have an overabundance of users and we have also somehow come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter who you step on to get to the top, step away and let the weak fall off.  In a nutshell…we’ve taken our eye off the big picture, the fact that real success is defined by how well those around you are doing. 

I am asking you pretty please to work toward common goals.  Find ways to make yourself better by listening to what people have to say when it comes to some things.  If someone disagrees with you, or you with them…take the time to talk to them, and for God’s sake…when you talk to them nowhere in the conversation should anything come up about calling your lawyer, or the “problem solvers” at the local tv station.  Do me the favor of being honest in your endeavors and be fair with your trade.  Please…don’t go around looking for the “easy path”.  There will come times when you won’t be doing exactly what you had hoped for in life, and that’s ok, but hold your ideals high and if you are in a situation that you can’t be part of…gracefully bow out. 

Don’t be a part of anything whose focus is to do nothing but make money and give as little back as possible.  Be a true friend to people.  Be genuine and engaging.  If you ask about someone, be sincere.  If you think you can lend a hand…do it.  Start talking to your neighbors again, help old ladies out if you get a chance and never be “above” doing anything.  Look at success as a multi-level win.  If you’re doing good, think about what you can do for the guy down the street, could you buy a hamburger from him instead of some big national chain?  Maybe the other guy down the street sells shirts…think how nice everyone around you would look in a new work shirt.  On top of that, think what that shirt says to the people you gave them to.  Yes, you thought about them that day…..that will be a huge help to you in the long run.
 
I am asking you please to work toward coming back to the middle.  A long long time ago, President Abe Lincoln said that the only way the USA will be destroyed is from within.  I don’t know that anyone ever imagined that the destruction would come from greed and intolerance but with our current situation they are the two things I am asking you as a favor to steer clear from.  We’ve got an awful lot of good things here and honestly, you deserve a better place than we had…but to turn in to this skid, we’re going to have to work together from both ends of the age spectrum.


Thanks for hearing my plea.  I wish you as much as you can handle of everything, and I do mean everything.  Everything because by the time you get to my age, I will hope you have seen enough love, life, loss and pain by then to understand just how fragile we all are, and how much better care we should take of each other, and ourselves  You are about to embark on a journey that will have more chapters than you can possibly imagine….may God be with you.   

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