My own commencement address

Friday , June 01, 2012 - 12:34 PM

Audrey Godfrey

Since most commencements are over and it looks like no one wants me to give an address I think I'll write one here for any of you who would like to be a graduate, but haven't completed the work. First, let me say that many of the quotes are not original, but they are some I like and, as most speakers do, I'll include them in my address.

I should assure you that I am as qualified to speak at a commencement as (fill in the blank). I have years of experience in both my personal life, and in the world of work. I like to talk and be heard, just as Theodore Roosevelt did. He famously said, "I know a man my age should learn to keep his mouth shut, but I can't. I have so damn much to say." (Excuse the French)

Besides that, I have a masters degree in history so I should know a lot about what needs to be said. I'm a mother and grandmother and we know everything. But like our children and grandchildren who rarely listen, you readers are my captive audience and I'll take advantage of it.

Here are a few pithy quotes to start my talk. "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny." (Albert Ellis, American psychologist)

"Seek challenges, embrace the unknown and enjoy the future." (Bill Collar, motivational speaker)

Do I have your attention yet? Oh, I can see you are peeking at the movie advertisements. I'll have to do better.

The following should impress you with my knowledge.

* I quote Epictechus, an ancient Greek sage and Stoic philosopher of 55 A.D. "Seek struggle, self knowledge, and accomplishment and you will be successful in your goals and have a great sense of fulfillment."

*Epictechus 2: " First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. . . Basically we are responsible for our own actions."

* Epictechus 3: "We have no power over external things, and the good that ought to be the object of our earnest pursuit is to be found only within ourselves."

* Finally, Epictechus 4: "For our country or friends we ought to be ready to undergo or perform the greatest difficulties." Most commencement talks tell graduates who aren't listening, who are more concerned with getting things over with so they can eat somewhere, how to be happy and successful. So you can get on with "whatever," I quote Chieko N. Okazaki, educator and church leader. "Each person alive today has an amazing opportunity to shape the future of this planet by contributing love, goodwill, and service." She continues, "This life is all the time we have, and each of us has exactly the same amount of time every day. . . we each have a steady succession of minutes and hours making up each day of our life. . . . The worse thing we can do is to give away the time we have by living in either the past or the future because there's not one thing we can do to alter the past or make the future arrive any faster." Go forward!!!

In conclusion, take responsibility for your life,

kenaud1@comcast.net

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