Your generation has earned your diploma not just because of what you learned but what you taught the rest of us. You taught us that it is not too late to make the changes that will save our planet. As long as you are alive it’s never too late. You taught us that living in fear is NOT living. Fear exists in all of us but it does not define us. You thanked a veteran and you questioned war. Your generation has little use for the word “Normal”. Normal is only useful when it pertains to health. Your body should have a “normal” temperature of 98.6, and sure, you should have blood pressure with the “normal” range. But that is where it ends. It is you who taught us that uniqueness makes us creative, inspired, and ultimately powerful.
For these lessons I thank you. And perhaps you can indulge me as I impart some lessons that I have learned.
- Maintain good credit. One of the greatest gifts you have been given, as a child of the free world, is the ability to make positive change for yourself based on little more than your past ability to pay for the things you bought.
- Learn all you can about our country’s past and take an interest in our government. Maybe that means running for office, reading more, or just watching CSPAN every now and then.
- Use spell check
- Don’t listen to those who tell you we lost our way.
- Be generous with your time. Giving money is nice. It takes only seconds to write a check. But some of my most valuable life lessons came while volunteering.
- Accept who you are. You are the only one living your life.
- When in a meeting listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Keep in mind some of the best ideas have come from unlikely places.
- Much of our fear and ignorance comes from our parents. Reject it. It will set you free. But do not blame or resent your parents for that fear. They were just doing the best they could. You mean everything to them.
So continue to astound us. Go out there and live, love, earn, make mistakes and leave this world a more, selfless and compassionate place then the one you entered.
By Stacy Hathaway