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By Staff | May 28, 2010

There is an urge from those of us who graduated long ago to try to tell something important to those graduating today. We want to tell then something useful that they probably have not learned sitting in class all those years.

It has been over ten years since my youngest graduated from high school so I am very far removed from graduation and giving advice to a young person. My children are more likely to give me advice than take any from me.

However, there must be something useful I could give to a young person. It would help if it were something that someone had not already said. Originality would be appreciated.

There are the standard pieces of advice such as be a person of integrity. Never stop learning. Strive to do your best no matter how small or large the job. Those are all good things to do on a daily basis at any age.

To all of those things, I would add to be prepared for change, lots of change that is happening quickly.

I became part of the television generation at a young age. We watched black and white television for years. Then there was this new advancement called color television.

Color television improved slowly and steadily and now we have television with screens where we see people’s skin imperfections and the kind of dental work they’ve had done. Television comes to us in big, really big boxes and in little boxes we carry around.

I used to listen to recordings on flat vinyl discs that spun, then on to something called eight track tapes that were followed by cassettes. Cassettes gave way to compact discs and now everything is a computer file.

The first third or more of my life I listened to a car radio that used one small speaker facing up on the dash and I enjoyed it. Today I listen to several speakers mounted at different places throughout the interior.

The enjoyment has not changed as the old music is still good.

Radio stations would fade in an out depending on where I was traveling. Today I can listen to satellite radio that follows me no matter where I am. I even have a choice as to what I can listen.

The cell phone was, I know this is hard to believe, originally meant to be a telephone, you know, for talking to each other. Today, it is an entertainment and message center.

It tells you what is happening in the world from the news and weather to the price of whatever market you are following.

Google became a verb only a few years ago. The computer and telephone are coming together in ways we can only imagine with some of them already here.

Remember floppy discs? When was the last time you used one of those? There was a time not that long ago when computer storage was measured in megabytes. We are in gigabytes now and headed for terabytes.

I remember when John Deere introduced the New Generation of tractors in 1960 and the 4010 was considered such a big tractor that it might be too big. The 4010s and 4020s that were built have done their jobs and today they can move empty wagons and power an auger, not much else. Farmall Ms and John Deere As are for parades.

There will always be corn and soybeans to plant and there will always be a need to harvest and store them. In between planting and harvesting, there will be a need to control the weeds.

Those things will not change. How we get those things done will change and the rate of change will be faster than before.

My advice for anyone graduating would be words like, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” It was true 50 years ago and it is even truer today.

The future is coming. We will need to run faster just to stay in one place.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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