Last Thursday, our daughter, Mikela, graduated from the United States Air Force Academy, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the world's greatest Air Force, and shook the hand of her Commander in Chief after receiving her diploma.
I wrote her the following reflection as part of her commencement ceremonies and wanted to share it with all those graduating from college this spring:
You did it! Mom and I couldn’t be prouder of you and everything you accomplished to obtain your college degree.
We think back on the past five years and are filled with pride for your time at the Prep School, your two Basic Trainings, your surgically repaired knee, and the struggles to succeed with all those math, science and engineering classes.
With your learning challenges, the deck was stacked against you. Realistically, there was no way you should be graduating from the Air Force Academy. But somehow, you figured it out. And that resiliency and effort are what you should be most proud of. You overcame tremendous adversity, conquered overwhelming obstacles, and learned to master your mind, body, and soul. You took the best the Academy had to give and dominated it, but more importantly, you learned to dominate yourself. And this understanding of self will now allow you the privilege of leading others.
However, there is more learning ahead. You must learn to always be serious but never take yourself too seriously. You must learn to be humble and give credit to others. You must learn to be hopeful even when the future looks hopeless. You must learn the simplicity of true greatness, the open-mindedness of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength. You must always look to the future but never forget where you came from. You must honor your God and pray for guidance.
If you do all these things, you will have not lived in vain. We are excited about what the future holds for you. Congratulations and Good Luck!
Mom and Dad
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Terry is a sought after speaker who believes in the power of a story to motivate, inspire, and help others lead their uncommon and extraordinary lives. By combining his eleven-year cancer journey with his diverse business, athletic coaching, and hostage negotiating expertise, he delivers compelling yet relatable presentations for conferences, on-line events, panels, meetings, and seminars.