As our senior in high school reaches the proverbial home stretch, we are focusing (no pun intended) on yearbook photos. Of the 90 pictures taken by a friend last month, she needs to make her final choice and send it in, along with a baby picture, a list of her high school activities and an inspirational quote. She goes to a small school with an ever-tightening budget, so we (Mom and Dad) have been extorted to pay for a color ad at the back of the yearbook with another childhood photo of our girl, coupled with a tribute or sage advice.
Now, coming up with a thoughtful accolade for our daughter on demand, one that points to all the ways in which she is exceptional, fits a quarter of a page slot, and doesn’t horrify her, well, that was just plain hard. I spent most of yesterday rifling through stacks of old photo albums and Googling inspirational sayings. Franklin Roosevelt's “There is nothing to fear but fear itself,” came up a million times as did Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken.” More years ago then I care to acknowledge, during Glee Club back back in junior high (that term itself dates me, I'm well aware), we put that poem to music. Then we sang the thing to death. All these years later I shudder when reading the poem because without fail, that tune seeps up and embeds itself on a continual loop in my brain for the next several hours. Pass on old RF.
Finally, after reading many overused, trite maxims, it occurred to me that there might be a snippet of wisdom to be discovered via pop culture. Within minutes, I’d come up with this:
“It is our choices…that show what we really are, far more than our abilities” spoken by Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Nice to know that a fictional wizard can offer such insight.
When it was our daughter’s turn to find her quote, she Googled too. She’s narrowed it down to three:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” Eleanor Roosevelt
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Hang the code, and hang the rules. They are more like guidelines anyway.” Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean.
If you were seventeen again, which one would you choose?