Graduations of all sorts are upon the United States and beyond. From high school diplomas to baccalaureate degrees and, of course, all the undergraduate milestone achievements. In Georgia we even celebrate graduation from Pre-K, albeit its the wee ones on stage in all their cuteness with a big decorated cake to follow. Smiles from parents are the prequel to the dream that begins!
What if though the dream never began? What does one look forward to or aspire? I’m no economics major, just an older and wiser individual (forget I said that), well, sometimes we all doubt our intelligence when kids challenge us. But let’s give them aspirations, not just dreams of money and glamor. There are other more worthy attributes with which to cling to.
Driving the teens to school this morning the talk in the car was about the future, the immediate with finals looming in math and chemistry, and the foreseeable future as signs around the neighborhoods boast of who’s who, and where they are headed for the next segment in their lives.
Our own neighborhood has two graduates with one headed to the United States Air Force Academy. Wow. This gave me the opportunity to tell my child about this important achievement and what a prestigious direction to be headed in for them. This aspiration or goal may not be my daughters but its good that she knows others want to also achieve. I believe this helps to set them on a good path. I could be wrong, but for now as a parent, I’m believing in the idea that I have some influence over their possible futures. Maybe, maybe not. Some kids will do their own thing, or maybe just take more time getting there. I’ll be waiting with a smile and a kind heart to help them, too.
I am reminded of that old saying, not sure where it comes from, “What ever you do in life, do it well!”
This brings me to the cities trying to help their poor, those living in poverty. Los Angeles has endorsed an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. This is double the wage now. Will this offer more people the incentive to work and provide for their families? Seattle and San Francisco recently did the same with Chicago to reach $13 an hour. The Mayor of New York City hopes to do the same with $15 an hour being the lowest wage of a city worker. Certainly the recent-past recession, poverty, immigration and our economics in the global arena are all factors for success or not.
They call this the living wage and when we read about wages or incomes from around the world we get mortified. How do people live on such low wages? How do they eat? Maybe they don’t. It makes us glad to live in America, the place so many have come to live and love.
Will raising the minimum wage cause employers to cut hours and offer less benefits to cover those costs and still maintain profits? We definitely need all types of workers as fast food lines are jammed. I have read that ‘experiment’ is the word used about this new wage increase. They are not sure it will work, but we all know that no one should work full time and live in poverty. Depressing.
Now back to education, graduation and my trip to school this morning. I graduated with a diploma in nursing back in 1979 (took the same test as BSN’s), worked 20 plus years as a Registered Nurse. Now, that’s not good enough. I can’t seem to find employment in a field that has a shortage with the need expected to grow. This is tremendously disappointing, especially for women who stay home for a period of years to take care of children. Then when they return they are told to take an RN re-entry course which costs thousands of dollars. I did that. My recent employment ended in February and now the prospects are slim. I have decided to get the necessary letters behind my name, namely a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, which may make it easier to get hired. I always thought experience was the big deal. We nurses gave our heart and soul to this profession as we sacrificed lunch breaks, worked long hours, weekends, nights, holidays and were called the hand maidens of doctors. Seriously, I lived through this. That’s another article.
Times have changed. It’s still a worthy and necessary profession but I’ve been encouraging my daughter to be more, look at a better title in the medical profession with more respect and pay. Obviously, I didn’t want her to work so hard and sacrifice. She told me she might like to work hospice and I melted right there in the car. My angel wants to work with people who are dying. Immediately, I refracted and corrected myself. I told her that some of us older nurses are a bit weathered, and please understand that hopefully things have changed. After all, I want the best for her.
And then it hit me just like that … If I lay dying in hospice, I would absolutely, unequivocally love to listen to the the soft voice of an angel comforting me; then I would look into those sweet eyes from heaven before I died and leave this world with a smile.
This would be important work, not done for the money, but fulfilling to the heart and soul which calls those special people, men or women in life to comfort our being.
Whatever choices your graduate has made best wishes to them. They made the best choice by seeking out a better life through education or completion from our encouragements through the years. Cheers to the contributions they’ll make to this world. Congratulations to all the graduates the world over! Let’s encourage their futures from Pre-K to Young Adults.
My novel Into the Vines has a character named Daniela who is a young nurse with dreams. Currently I am writing novels of fiction with relative experiences I’ve encountered. Available on Amazon and other sites. Into the Vines by Kim Troike.
By Kim Troike
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