I’ve heard a lot of graduation speeches – most good, some sort of boring.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to attend the Marshall Academy graduation on Monday night, May 14, due to newspaper deadlines.
Then I found out who was speaking – my good friend, fellow Holly Springs Church of Christ elder, and longtime educator Jerry Moore.
I worked it into my schedule – to support the seniors and to hear what I knew would be a great talk. Jerry didn’t disappoint.
First off, he looked directly at the high school seniors on the front row and let them know he was talking directly to them. If anyone else picked up anything from his speech, fine, but his message was for the graduates.
Believe it or not, I’ve seen seniors not pay good attention to graduation speeches before, but not this time.
Point #1 – Don’t do stupid stuff. Please respect your parents by making mature and positive decisions that can put their minds at ease.
Jerry said since his three boys have been old enough to go out and do things on their own, he and his wife Wendy have stressed three things when they leave the house – “We love you” and “We’re here if you need us” and “Don’t do anything stupid.”
Point #2 – Don’t forget where you came from and use it. When you walk out of here tonight with your MA diploma, you become a part of a vast network of successful people – people who can help you get internships, scholarships and jobs. Your diploma means so much more than you think it means right now. Never forget that, and use it to your advantage.
Point #3 – Give us what you’ve got. Are you a born writer? A leader? A scientist? Were you put on this earth to protect others? To fix things that are broken? Maybe to fix people who are broken? When you leave here tonight, use your talents, and if you don’t know your talents, that’s no big deal. Search yourself, unlock those talents, and use them to help others. Do not cheat us of your contribution. Attack the world with your talents for the greater good.
Point #4 – Be nice to people...when you can. In this life, it’s not about who you impress, it’s about who you impact in a positive way. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus did not say, “Blessed are those who are rude.” He said, “Blessed are the humble, the meek and the peacemakers.”
Point #5 – Be very, very picky about who you hang out with (for your sanity, success and safety). Those you hang out with will either help you make or break the goals you’ve set for yourself. Always ask yourself, “Are the people I’m hanging out with encouraging me and helping me, or are they bringing me down with the things they say or with how they treat me? Are they pushing me toward greatness or dragging me down into the mud?”
Life is short. You will have a limited amount of time to accomplish what God wants you to accomplish for Him, for yourself and for those you love. Never forget, God loves you, and so do a lot of other people. If you ever find yourself in a fix, reach out to those people who care about you.