A few years ago while at my former place of employment, a colleague and friend approached me with the assignment of speaking the keynote message at a senior class sendoff event. This particular graduating class was near and dear to my heart. It was with great pleasure that I agreed to his request. The problem was, prior to the event I wasn’t sure what to say. I generally do well with public speaking, but I am not a speech guy. I don’t write and recite speeches. I generally speak what’s on my mind and request that the Spirit of truth lead my tongue. However, I knew that I needed a speech. Thankfully, the Spirit guided my thoughts onto paper and I came up with 16 points. I wrote them down and when I delivered them to the students, the Spirit did guide my tongue as my heart retrieved the thoughts in my head and mastered them.
June is the month of graduation ceremonies and graduation barbecues. Many of you will be moving on to high school, college, graduate school or the workforce. If I may, I’d like to share with you those 16 points that I shared with my students on that Friday evening a few years ago. To the current graduating class, as you mature and progress through life, please keep these things in mind. I hope that you find them helpful as you progress in your lives. As the songwriter sang, may the LORD God bless you real good.
- Double Major – you should major in (1) something you are skilled in and (2) something you are passionate about. As you start your career, let your skill fund your passion. As your mature in your vocation, let your passion fund your skill.
- You Must Think For Yourself – you are in charge of your own path; your journey is a journey you and those who will depend on you will have to live with. Get informed to make informed decisions.
- Have The Right Attitude at All Times – because no one will care to help you when you display the wrong attitude.
- Do Good – do what is right and always treat people right without expecting an immediate return… the energy you give will always come back to you.
- Move Forward, Always – Don’t be bitter about what you didn’t have or what you didn’t receive Don’t dwell on the past. Focus on your destination and not the detours you had to take to get there.
- It is Absolutely About WHO YOU KNOW – so get to know people.
- A College Education Will Change You – do not be afraid of maturation; embrace it. Look forward to all the good that is attracted by your growth.
- Be Humble – let others praise you. You do not need to praise yourself. Others will praise you and your reputation will stand on its own.
- NEVER Be Ashamed of Who You Are – embrace your race/ethnicity, gender identification and sexual orientation. If others cannot handle who you are, that is their cross to carry.
- Don’t Rush In Gaining Adult Responsibilities – i.e. bills, children, marriage… take your time.
- If You Choose a Partner, Choose One That Brings Something To The Table In Addition To Love – Love is great, but it doesn’t pay the bills and it does not guarantee years of companionship.
- Be Cautious of Who You Invest Your Time In – some people are in your life for a short season. Others, longer… discern who is who and invest accordingly.
- Serve Others – because to giving is one of life’s greatest teachers and one of life’s greatest rewards
- NEVER Put Yourself in a Compromising Position – ethically, financially, emotionally, spiritually… be a person of consistent and uncompromising integrity.
- Appreciate What You DO Have – be thankful; no matter the circumstance that encompasses your or the situation you are in
- Keep God First.
Continue to press towards the mark!