Big plans for the future

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Country Singer Chris Lane recorded a song called “Big, Big Plans.” It’s a romantic ballad about how he has big plans for his future with his girlfriend. Plans to propose, get married and build a house on some land. It is cute. As I sat through recent award ceremonies, graduation and even university orientation the refrain of this song “Big, Big Plans” kept rolling through my head like an earworm. Not because I thought anyone was about to get a marriage proposal, but because each of these young people has their own big, big plans.

It started with an honors, scholarship and award ceremony at Fayetteville High School. I was privilege to sit with one of my fellow “mom” friends as her son received his appointment to the United States Airforce Academy by a logistics readiness officer. He received his appointment to the academy along with a student who was appointed to the United States Naval Academy and two students who received their appointments to the United States Military Academy at West Point. It was an impressive ceremony. Out of a sea of more than 700 students only a few had chosen the rigorous path to military service. There is a future congresswoman or governor in that group, I am sure.

Next, senior students were invited back to their elementary, middle and junior high schools for what is called, the senior walk. During an assembly at our daughter’s former primary school, each student said their name and told younger students in the audience about their post-graduation plans. They also shared cherished memories of fun school events and precious teachers who had shaped them into the young adults they are today. It was a memorable occasion, and I was trying to soak all of it in. It was incredible to hear what exciting adventures awaited these people who could barely tie their shoes or drive only a few short years ago.

Finally, it was graduation night. Our oldest daughter’s high school class is so large, the ceremony was held on the University of Arkansas campus at Bud Walton Arena. Our family arrived early to get a good view of our own graduate. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents and friends packed into the stadium to witness this momentous occasion. The student speakers did a great job commemorating the occasion and looking back at school days fondly. The superintendent issued several motivating challenges to the students and soon Pomp and Circumstance began to play, and the parade of graduates came marching one by one across the stage.

As our daughter came across the stage with her diploma in hand, I saw a look of pride and accomplishment wash over her face like I had never seen before. She looked up where we were seated as if to say, “look guys, I DID IT!” It was a proud moment for our family, and she looked beautiful. 

Following some family celebrations, our life at home seemed to return to normal for a few days. Our daughter had signed up for the earliest day for University of Arkansas freshmen orientation. Before I knew it, we had closed the book on one chapter, and we were about to bear witness to a brand new one. I attended orientation with her and was awed by her independent spirit for note taking and scheduling her first semester of classes. The campus here in Fayetteville is lovely and I know she is going to have a wonderful educational experience. 

I share all of this with you because the future for our young people is bright, do not count them out. From trade school certificates to officers in the greatest military in the nation, these young people have big, big plans, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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