Graduation season is upon us… or is coming to an end for many. This is a bittersweet time for me, as our youngest son, Emmett Reed Kruse, graduated from high school yesterday. The event has been served with a host of emotions: we are so happy for Emmett and incredibly proud of him, but just cannot believe that this milestone has been reached. It was just yesterday that we brought this guy home from the hospital!
Emmett has made the decision to work for his older brother, Elton. Kruse Concrete Construction has gained a terrific employee, and I’m confident the business will continue to thrive.
If you asked me to describe what it is to be a parent, one of the first words I would answer with is “Worry.” Obviously, there is so much more to parenting than worrying, but I sure do find myself doing a lot of that worrying. My current list of worries: Did we raise these three boys “right?” Did we teach them what it is to be good human beings? Did we teach them what it means to truly be happy? Did we equip them with the tools to be both happy and successful? Will they always do right by others?
I also wonder if we have done enough to show them how to deal with life’s ups-and-downs. Because life serves up healthy doses of both. Cleo Wade paints this reality beautifully in her 2021 children’s book titled, What the Road Said. It was written for both children and adults, and is packed with all of the wisdom I hope my boys possess.
As the child in the book wanders down “The Road,” she asks many questions including, “But what does it mean to be brave?” The wise old road responds, “Being brave is when you are afraid of doing something, but you do it anyway. Do not let what scares you keep you from continuing on your path…” Oh, Kruse boys (and 2023 graduates… and all humans!) – heed this advice. Be brave. Those new ventures are scary. Doubting thoughts will creep into your mind; acknowledge those thoughts, then jump into those ventures. Do the hard work. Take the tumbles, dust off your boots, and keep going.
“Will I always move forward? ‘Not always,’ said the Road. Why not? ‘Because sometimes you will stumble backward and sometimes you will stand still.’ What if I fall? ‘Everyone falls at some point,’ said the Road. ‘But I will always be there when you land.'” Do you see what I mean? This book is packed with wisdom! Thank you, Cleo Wade, for writing this golden nugget! And thank you, Lucie de Moyencourt for illustrating it so perfectly.
Speaking of books that are golden nuggets, The House in the Cerulean Sea, by TJ Klune is another must-read. The life lesson that I am pulling from this one, and am hoping that I have imparted well to my boys is this: We fear what we do not know. Be cognizant of this as you encounter new ideas, new ways of looking at things, new people. Commit to being vulnerable, to listening, to being KIND, to being authentic, and to remembering that we are all on this journey together.
The journey on The Road is tough. The journey on The Road is beautiful. In every moment of toughness, remember that “This too shall pass.” In every moment of beauty, remember that “This too shall pass.” In a roundtable discussion with other actors, Tom Hanks summarizes this idea perfectly.
And in the words of the brilliant George Couros, “Cherish every minute before the minutes are gone.”