The picture above is my son, Gabriel, his back to the camera, walking across the stage to accept his undergraduate degree from Hampshire College in their first live commencement since the pandemic. It was taken Saturday and a personal great joy for me to see him acknowledged for the work he did in college, crossing the finish line to receive his degree.
[Great job, Gabe! I know you are reading this. Not only did you earn your degree, but you created an amazing treatise as your final project, Hijacking Empire: Postcapitalist Activism in the Age of Abstract Violence. Well done, and thank you for giving such serious thought to the future of our society.]
Even though Gabe actually graduated two years ago as part of the class of 2020 and already received his diploma, it was a very meaningful ceremony on multiple fronts. It was a great reminder of how important it is to say out loud what has been accomplished and to perform a public ritual that acknowledges an official change in status.
When you want to thank someone, whether personal or professional or otherwise celebrate, praise, or honor someone, turning your sentiment into some form of performance can make a huge difference. For personal gratitude, a note can be more powerful than a verbal thank you. For a professional honor, having the right audience present makes a powerful difference. And do not mince words, state clearly why the honor is important, and express gratitude clearly for the contribution.
When you cross a particular threshold, take the time to do it right. What acknowledgments would you like to make this week?
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”
– Bradley Whitford