Article, "High School Graduation Thoughts"
My speech notes:
When I was invited to speak as a “guest speaker” for your high school graduation today, I asked myself why? I was kind of surprised for I no longer feel like a “guest” here at Rich Golden Shower Montessori.
I see and share with you during our weekly Thursday High School bible studies. I was even there during your high school seniors spiritual and character development retreats and even in your classrooms teaching some course.
So let’s just say I’m your guest speaker who is no longer a guest!
But still I asked, Why? I prayed and sought God about what He wants to say to you today. God answers my prayer and leads me to deliver to you 3 things which I believe He wants to say to you today.
Regarding these 3 things, I discovered they are things I wish someone has told me when I myself graduated from high school several years ago.
Let me start with the first one: Perspective.
Perspective to me is an ability to view things properly. We need perspective in order to realize the right way and values to view and build our life.
Here at RGSMC, proper perspective in life is important. It is even embedded in your total high school education. This is the only school I know where a percentage part of the official grade of every subject is on character. That’s how important this matter is to your school.
Where do you get the right perspectives in life? To answer this question, I say it could be dangerous to build your perspectives and life only around college. Life is more than college. Your life’s perspective doesn’t have to be shaped by the philosophies that you hear from your college professors or learn from your textbooks.
As a matter of fact, some can be bad examples, so beware of them! Especially when these examples are examples of corruption, laziness, dishonesty, lack of discipline. Beware of them for they will influence your perspectives and values in life.
How do you develop right perspectives for your college and life beyond? You need to listen to Scripture. Scripture is a manual that teaches us how to live. Scripture talks to us about life’s proper perspectives. The meaning and purpose of life. How you should relate to yourself and others. Attitudes towards money, possessions. Family values. Concern for justice, truth and so forth.
In preparing for your college and life beyond, the right perspective is therefore to have God at the center of your life. Of course, you can push your own way in life. And it may get you to the top of your college and career.
But without God’s blessing, your achievement is shallow. You’ll discover that you can long for things but after attaining them you’d feel empty and less satisfied. You can have much (much money etc), but if God is not at the center of what you have, you actually have very little.
You need God’s perspective in all your decisions, be it college course, a job or career to pursue, a life partner and so on. You need God’s perspectives in your life if life is to really be successful and satisfying.
The second thing I believe God wish you to reflect on is embodied in the word “passion.” What is your passion? What are the gifts and abilities God has given you? What do you enjoy and do best?
If I were back in high school and someone asked me about what my plans are after graduating, I'd say that my first priority was to learn what the options are. What you need to do is discover what you like. You need time to work on things you like to do if you want to make right choices for your college and for your life.
It sounds easy to find out what you like to do. But the truth of the matter is that it’s a difficult thing to get a complete and accurate picture of your self and most careers. What complicates the situation is that we don’t always know what is best for us.
This therefore encourages you learn about career options and connect them to where your passions and abilities lie. If you ask me what I regret most about part of my college, I’ll say this: I wasted so much time. If you're wondering what you're doing now that you'll regret most later, that's it – wasting time. I wasted time pursuing things that were not my passion.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “Do you love life? Then do not waste time for that is the stuff life is made of.” The Bible also affirms the importance of using our time wisely. It says our life is like a vapor. We appear and then disappear. Our supply of time is limited.
A key to wasting time is distraction. If you want to discover how addicted you’ve
become on distractions, try this experiment: set aside time and sit alone. Think of nothing else: no friends, no TV, no cellfone, no computers, no web games, email etc. Within an hour most people will feel a strong craving for distraction. When you start feeling deeply uncomfortable, that’s distraction.
Time is God’s gift to us. It is a sin to waste it or merely spend it. We must invest it in our passions and where God has told us to be.
Last but not the least, preparation. Remember to prepare well to take hold of your future.
You don’t have to wait to be older. You can start being an adult now by deciding to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.
You may say, “Oh I’m just 16 years old, I have no money, I have to live with my parents, I have to do what adults tell me to do.” Don’t be restricted by these limitations. You can prepare now by living like an adult. If you think it's restrictive being a kid, imagine having kids!
That realization hits most people around 23. But I'm letting you in on the secret early. So get to work. Maybe you can be the first generation whose greatest regret from high school and college is not how much time you wasted.
YOU NEED also TO PREPARE FOR A world that changes very fast. Some of the things I'm presently doing didn't exist when I was in high school. The world changes and the rate at which it changes is itself speeding up.
In such a fast changing world, would it be a good idea to have fixed plans? Well, every graduation, you’ll be encouraged not to give up on your dreams. It does feel good – don’t give up on your dreams.
But if it means you're supposed to be bound by some plan you made early on, then you could be heading towards disaster. The computer world has a name for this: premature optimization. Better to say simply, don't give up! Don't get demoralized to move on inspite of changes that you see around you.
While faith in God is the foundation of your preparation, you need also to be realistic about yourself and the world around you.
The future is always open. Be prepared to face life and your future boldly.
The important thing is to get out there and do stuff. Instead of waiting to be taught, go out and learn and be well prepared to take hold of your future.
Congratulations, my dear young friends, on your graduation today. REMEMBER IT’S JUST A BEGINNING OF ANOTHER NEW LIFE FOR YOU. Have God’s perspectives in all your important decisions. Know and follow your passions. Be well prepared to face the challenges of the world and the future.
God bless, and again, congratulations!