I attended my daughter's high school graduation today and wanted to comment on something I noticed from this event.
During the diploma ceremony the kids that got the largest ovations were the ones that had struggled. It didn't seem to matter if they just squeaked through because of learning disabilities, or family problems, or laziness. At first I was a bit angry. My daughter (and others like her), who had worked her butt off taking the hardest classes and getting good grades, were applauded tepidly while the crowd went wild for the kids barely graduating. But as I stewed I began to understand that this response by the audience was characteristically American. Americans have an unlimited capacity to cheer the underdog, a bottomless well of empathy for the disadvantaged, and a neverending optimism that the bad will become good. It is what helps make Americans unique. Everything great that America does or will do comes from this foundation of positiveness. Eventually, I joined the others in celebrating all the kids of the class of 2009. I fervently hope that every individual learns to feel the buoyancy of good will each and every day that infused and inflated the crowd today at my daughters high school graduation.