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A Wish for Our New Graduates

graduation hats

To continue our Graduation Week posts, I wanted to share this wonderful short poem from Donald Kaag, a high school teacher from Moscow, Idaho. He shared it at a high school graduation in 2006, the year he was retiring. These were his final words to his students and I think they are applicable to all of us:


I’d wish you a nice life

If I didn’t care about you so much…

What I wish for you is freezing cold

graduate homeless-man

So you will appreciate warmth.

Real hunger

So food will taste wonderful when you get it.


So that when you find a true friend you will appreciate

The work and the difficulty of earning…and keeping…friendship.

I wish you love

And loss

And love again…

That you find something so precious you would give your life for it,

And then the sense…the heart…to live for it.

I wish you fear


So you can confront it, conquer it.

And a life lived…earned…

A life of challenge and caring

Despite the cost

Giving your best,whatever it takes

graduates giving

Standing for what you believe in…whatever it is.

Giving more than you take

I wish you to brave the storms of life

Pay the cost in wounds…tears…scars

And I wish you the most precious gift you can ever possess…

grauate build stairs

The character you fabricate along the way.

Don’t have a nice life My Kiddos

Build a good one.

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