I am not, please note, touting the quality of this poem, but the sentiment that it puts forth. The poem, “The Dash” by Linda Ellis, goes like this for its first two stanzas:
by Linda Ellis copyright 1996
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.
What I’d like to propose is that students, faculty, staff and all the rest of us guys at JCHS think about this semester as a segment of our “dash” and what we are going to do with it. I have seen students already this semester — a week before classes begin — in our library and Learning & Writing Center preparing. I have seen scurrying and excited faces and determined demeanors. Those are the ones who are set to dash. I encourage all of you, at the precipice of the new year, to examine your resolutions. You may set personal goals for yourself, larger goals for helping humanity (many of you will do so in the healthcare field), or unattainable goals. Don’t do the latter — that’s like working out seven days straight after laying on the sofa for 10 years; you just won’t persevere. Instead, think about what you can realistically achieve, and include helping others around you when you see that they are struggling. Be someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but does take life’s challenges are goal setters. Make strides in your dash.