Back in March, my seniors had a ceremony called “Ribbon Day” where they would formally get “pinned” by underclassmen (Juniors) as a means of sending them off into the world and acknowledging their accomplishments. Students were to dress in their best and invite family members. I was asked by the senior sponsor to give a speech during the ceremony. Initially, I had no idea what I would say to these kids that they would even be interested in listening to without sounding like a parent. I am a parent, though. Fortunately, all ears were open that morning from students and parents a like. So much so, I want to post it on here as it could resonate with more than 17 years olds. Goes as follows: “Can I just be honest for a second…..Like many of you when it comes to your work you have to do, I procrastinated so heavily on just this here speech. I’m not one for clichés just to sound like I have something important to say or just talking to be seen…but if I am going to take the time to speak to someone or someones for that matter. I want whatever it is I have to say penetrate your ears, resonate with you, conflict you even. With that said, I won’t be before you long. This is probably one of the last, if not THE last time I will have the opportunity to speak to all of you at once, so I’ll make it count. I just have four key points, and I’m out.
- Be content in your current season, whatever that may be. Stop rushing your life away. Since before the very first bell rang in August ( well not the first bell because y’all know I’m never here early enough to hear the first bell), but before you all were fully acclimated into the school year, I couldn’t tell you how many times I heard, “I’m just ready to graduate. I am just ready for school to be over”…. The time is coming sooner than you think. You are going to be grown for the rest of your life. Adult life is not going anywhere. Cherish this time now. The people you see to your left and right. May 13thmay be the very last time you see some of them in person & high school is probably by far one of the easiest times you will have in your life. After spring break there is Prom, EOC testing, Decision Day…then graduation..thats it. Two months away. You know how fast two months fly
- Seek out your purpose and tap in to it. I’m starting to have a lot of conversations with students who are just about fearful for what is after May 13, 2015. Mainly because some of you have not a clue what to do after graduation. To a certain degree, that is not all bad. Most have decided to attend college but don’t know what major to pursue. Ok..some have decided to go to the Military. Haven’t had many conversations with those who have decided to go straight into the workforce..but you need to do something. How will you contribute to society? What will your legacy be? Deep questions but I am very much serious. Do not think because you are “young” that you do not have wit, resource, competence, power. If it’s anytime to seek out your purpose and pursue it, it is now. If you are going to be a garbage man, be a garbage man. It is a job that has to be done in order for this country to run effectively so if that is your job, you better make sure that you are the best garbage man this world has ever seen. If you are going to be a CEO, put the needs of the company and your employees above your own. Make the next day on the job better than the day before. You are not on this earth for no reason. Time to stop existing and start living.
- Humble yourself. No you are not always right. No you do not always have the answers. No you do not always have to be the leader. No everything does not have to be done by yourself. 18 does not make you grown. 21 does not make you grown. Yes it is ok to ask for help. I get the frustrations of having to sometimes go out of your way to seek people out for assistance when you are in need of help, but so what! You (we) have limited capabilities as a human. Ask for help! Do not be so above yourself that you are willing to risk great opportunity and prosperity all because you are too prideful or too fearful to open your mouth. If you do not have the answer or the know how, I guarantee someone else does. ASK!
- Respect goes a loooooooooooong way. From your parents, to your elders, to teachers and future professors, employers, peers, all the way down to your kids. Regardless of the ways in which someone may treat you or come across you, you do not waver. You remain consistent in your positive attitude. Disrespect gets you no where. Entitlement gets you no where. Nobody on God’s green Earth owes you anything and when you tap into the real world after graduation, you will soon figure out that people will sometimes treat you that they do NOT owe you anything. Be secure enough in yourself to always spew out respect to others around you. Does not make you lame. Does not make you weak. You know how strong you have to be to hold your tongue when you feel like someone has wronged you? Exactly.
Like I said before, I was not gone be before you long but I hope you all took heed from at least one thing I said. Recap: Be content in your season Tap into your purpose Humble yourself Respect Thank you for entrusting me with your post-secondary plans as your College Adviser. As you all know, I am out of here in May just like all of you. I appreciate the time I had with you all and will continue for these next two months. Make these last few moments count.” Whether a high school graduate, college graduate, or full time employee, all of us can take pointers from this posting. It’s always good to be given reminders on daily living. So live.