May is a great month. Here in New England, winter’s grip is finally loosened and spring bursts forth. The earth is resplendent with trees budding and flowers blooming. Bears emerge from hibernation, and songbirds return. Adding to these natural festivities (at least in this college town) are college commencements. Graduations are achieved after the sheer determination and hard work of 8 or more semesters.
When I was younger, I always thought “commencement” was such an odd word. My sense was we were celebrating what has (finally) been completed! Commencement, of course, means to begin. This focus on moving forward is essential. No successful person is “done learning” when she or he graduates. Understanding that learning is a life-long commitment is a powerful differentiator among people. To value learning is to cultivate it at every opportunity. To value learning means your life is enriched, and you enrich the lives of others, too.
One person who holds learning as one of his core values is Ken Blanchard. Today, we celebrate Ken’s 75th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEN! Thank you for your example of life-long learning. Your curiosity, coupled with your interest in sharing your learnings, has truly unleashed “the greater good” in hundreds of thousands of leaders all over the world.
It is a happy concurrence to have Ken’s birthday during “commencement season.” We can pause to recall our past opportunities for learning, and be grateful for all of them. Moreover, we can assess the ways in which we continue to learn. Mostly, today we can commit to ways we can increase these learning opportunities: for ourselves, and for others.