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By Julie Dieterle

The summer newsletter would not be complete without some note about graduation. I had the opportunity to attend my granddaughter’s graduation ceremony. I was surprised and inspired by the tenor of the speeches.

I seem to remember from past graduations, hearing “think big”, “dream big”, and “go for it”. The speakers today seemed to reflect more of the sense of appreciation of diversity, inclusion, and balance in life. I certainly saw those concepts incorporated in the students’ lives throughout their four years. There were more group adventures, cooperation in projects, acceptance of diverse lifestyles, more talking it out.

Some highlights from the speeches, for me, are the following: Surround yourself with people of character and with heart and you will feel at home.

Passion for your work is more important than just the money. Taking opportunities to be with many cultures enriches your life and expands your thinking.

Having a wide variety of experiences and friends broadens your perspective and makes you more comfortable anywhere.

One of the speakers was Craig Culver, founder and former CEO of Culvers. He emphasized how his business reflected his parents’ lives—doing what is right and setting an example. He also talked about a concept that he encourages in his businesses and “team” members (not just employees). He called the concept “touching tables”. He said whether it is going out among the tables and talking to people about how their food and service was, or whether it was checking in with the “team members” about how it was going for them—This gave the opportunity to show you care, to show you are there to appreciate what is going well or what might be done better, to change what might need changing before the mistake gets perpetuated or what dissatisfaction can immediately be addressed. A real hands on experience.

He also encouraged giving time, volunteering and staying engaged in your community. Even when you might be uncomfortable with something new or different—take the risk. This is part of the balance in your life and part of giving forward.

He talked about thinking his life experience was more valuable than his education, only to find that a well-rounded education  makes a well-rounded citizen. He encouraged support of the best education possible in public schools.

Keep on moving forward with purpose and plan. Keep moving toward what inspires you.

I am more confident in our future with the youth I see today and the advice being valued. As the class chose music—“If You’re Out There” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”—they’re sensitive and there for each other. Blessings to all the new graduates 2016!!

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