When Opportunity Knocks Where Will You Be?

Dear Children,

Tonight is the night before your graduations and though you have more than a few years of school to finish before you head out into the working world I cannot help but try to provide some advice.

Important Moments

This time four years ago I knew we were going to have to give up the house and that for you it was going to feel like life had been turned upside down and inside out.

The night we told you we were going to move you both cried and I remember being screamed at. You said you didn’t understand how I could be so nonchalant and unemotional about it but that wasn’t true.

I was in a place beyond anger and frustration but I wasn’t willing to share that part with you that day because you needed your father to be calm and certain about the changes that were coming.

Believe me, The Story Of A House- The Final Days doesn’t begin to show the depth of my feelings on the matter but let’s save that for a different day.

Today let’s focus on other things, like accomplishments, awareness and the ability to roll with whatever life sends your way.

Graduation, Accomplishments & Time

We couldn’t be more proud of the people you are and have so much confidence in the people you will become.

Tomorrow won’t be the last graduation for either one of you but it very well might be for some of your classmates. I don’t say that to dismiss, demean or denigrate them either.

It comes from life experience and the knowledge that we never know how much time we have. Some students will be lost to tragedy and some will simply fall between the cracks and not get too far beyond where they are now.

The experiences you have had with having to move homes and change schools has already helped you recognize that you can handle change with far less difficulty than you once imagined.

Though it might seem inconsequential or a tiny victory it is bigger than you think. You might be surprised by how many people struggle with change.

I know this from my own experience. There was a long while where I fought change so that I could stay in my comfort zone.

That is something that doesn’t happen to me very often, if at all anymore.


Because I have very few regrets and they are almost always tied up in my not having been willing to change things up as quickly as I should have been.

When Opportunity Knocks Where Will You Be?

Some people will poo-poo that quote above.

They’ll tell you it is a line from a movie and be disrespectful to time.

That is a mistake.

I can promise you one day you will be my age and you will wonder how so much time rolled by so quickly and you’ll wonder if you did your best to make use of it.

You’ll wonder if you squandered a resource you can never get back.

This is why I am so fervent in my desire to pursue certain dreams and to take certain chances. It is because without risk there is no reward and because sometimes we don’t recognize the size of the opportunity in front of us.

Sometimes we misunderstand it and think of it as being less than stellar so we don’t chase it the way we could.

Some opportunities come around more than once and fool us into thinking that all or most will be like that but we never really know.

You have seen pictures of ‘D’ and know that he was like a brother to me but I don’t think you really understand how young he was when he died.

We buried him.

I won’t ever forget the shoveling dirt on his casket and the silent promise I made to look out for his family and to do better with respecting time.

Learn from me. Learn from ‘D’ and do your best to respect time and be aware that some opportunities only come around once.

If you are aware and you choose not to go after one that is far different than being oblivious.

Remember This

You are loved and supported. You have the ability to choose to dream your lives or to try to live your dreams.

Life is always going to have moments where you feel like you’re trying to ride a tornado and others where things are so calm you begin to wonder if you are living a state of boredom.

With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work you’ll have far more good days than bad.

I love you very much and leave you with one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes.

Einstein miracle

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  1. kat June 4, 2015 at 4:56 am

    We went to my son’s high school graduation the other night and, believe me, thoughts like these have been swirling around in my mind a lot this week. How do we express the importance of never wasting our days away – of grabbing every opportunity – to a teenager who thinks he’s got all the time in the world ahead of him?

    • Jack Steiner June 4, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      My grandfather used to say you can’t screw an old head on young shoulders.
      I have been thinking about it repeatedly and I haven’t come up with a way to make it happen yet. Some things just have to be experienced I guess.

      • kat June 5, 2015 at 4:43 am

        I like that saying and may just steal it 🙂
        I guess that the best we can do is keep the lines of communication open and share our experiences with them with the hope that at least some of it sinks in.

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