Dear Class of 2020 – eighth graders, high school seniors and college grads – well, it is officially here by all logistics – the end of your school year, and the beginning of your next journey.
Are you scared? Nervous? Excited? Uncertain? Feeling butterflies in your tummy? Or feeling like you could toss your cookies at any moment?
That is OK. I’d be more worried about you if you didn’t have those feelings.
In looking back at the wild and odd school year you have had – with it ending three months to early – I have to say, and give you guys your props – you really outdid yourselves. You got it done.
Something that William James, the famous psychologist, once wrote came to my mind.
He said, “Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture.”
And changing the way you learned and did your school work the last few months, well, that certainly could be classified as a ‘doubtful undertaking,’ right?
If you can do what you did, well, oh, the places you are going to go, my sweet people.
In putting together my own graduation wish for you – or commencement speech, I thought, what in the world can I say to you that has not already been said? Or read?
No one can tell you what is ahead of you. I can share with you what my experiences were like in high school, college and after college but what I experienced may not be what is ahead for you,
There is so much uncertainty going on right now – the political scene is in constant turmoil, the coronavirus has us all confused and wondering what to do, and now, the news is full of the horrible act that caused the loss of life of George Floyd. Violent protests, hate-filled social media posts and toxic images fill our world daily.
A graduation speech is supposed to be encouraging and positive, right? How can this speech be that way with all that is going on?
Oprah Winfrey said, “The noise of the world drowns out the sound of you.”
But I say, only if you let it.
As you get ready to start the end steps in your life, I would encourage you to do the following three things – it is what I call the three Bs …Believe, Be and Breathe.
Find something to believe in – yourself, your abilities, your family, your relationships. Believe in God. Having someone or something to believe in gives you something tangible to grab on to, and helps push your forward. (And when you believe in God, let me tell you, He will push you forward!)
Be .. Be yourself, Be aware. Be focused. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be kind. In this sense, be is a verb. It signifies action. Walk. Move. Be.
And lastly, breathe. Life can get crazy as we see. Change impacts us daily. Take moments to yourself. Take a second. Breathe. Breathe in and out. Taking deep breaths has been proven to decrease anxiety and other such feelings, and helps you gain your focus again.
You’ve got this. Look at what you have just been through.
I am proud of you and for you.
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