My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Mommy Commencement Speech

*cue Pomp and Circumstance*
Ladies and Gentlemen, Parents, Family, Friends and most especially, graduates of the Class of 2012, the future is before you. As you set forth upon your journey toward higher education, the work force, or to just take up space in your parents' basement, I would like to share with you the wisdom that life has bestowed upon me. My perspective was not matriculated in a classroom (online or otherwise). It was earned through sweat, hard work, stretch marks and about 2 million loads of laundry. I am honored, on this momentous occasion, to be able to share this wisdom with you, free of charge (but we will take up a love offering following the commencement services for those who would like to donate to my cause). I give these to you in no specific order.

First, get a job. Yes, a degree is important and I would never discourage you from the pursuit of knowledge, however, that degree is not free. Get a job, even if you hate it, to help pay for a degree so that you can one day be qualified to perform a job you don't hate. Having a job that you hate will serve as encouragement to continue your pursuit of higher education.

Be a Reacher, not a Settler. Surround yourself with people who are more highly educated, better looking, thinner, richer, funnier, kinder and more ambitious. This will encourage you to work harder in all areas of your life. Of course, this will require you to surround yourself with Settlers. Every now and then have compassion on a few other Reachers so that they, too, will attain greatness.

Never lend anything you can't afford to lose. Whether it's a car, or money, or your favorite CD... loaning  things changes the perspective of the relationship by both the lender and the borrower. If you have something that your friend wants or needs, give it to them. If they give it back, you'll both be happier for it. If they don't, you will still be a better person for your generosity.

The best friends are the ones who are like a fun house mirror: they give you a reflection of yourself but it's fun, sometimes distorted, and diffuses the harshness of reality. There will be plenty of people willing to give you a reality check, it's ok to have a few people in your life who can soften the truth.

Balance your checkbook every month. Pay your bills as soon as they come. Don't spend more than you earn. This is all very basic but I promise, it will change your life. Having a newer/better item that you can't afford will not make you happy. In fact, it will probably make you less happy.

"Please" and "thank you" are two phrases that never go out of style. If you're too cool to say "thank you" then you don't deserve what you got that deserved a "thank you". Nobody owes you anything. Ask politely. Respond with gratitude. It's very simple.

Meet people in whatever medium is most comfortable for them. If your great-grandmother isn't online, send her snail mail. If your mother doesn't know how to text, call her instead. Speak the language of others to the extent of your ability, including Love Languages. If you never read any other book to prepare for the future, read "The Five Love Languages". It will change every relationship in your life.

Some things can wait and some can't. It's ok to wash the dishes the next day but it's not ok to put the laundry in the dryer the next day. If you're unsure if the milk is still good, don't drink it. Better to waste a little milk than to get sick from spoiled milk.

Vote every chance you get. Whether it's for PTA President or Class President or the President of the United States, every vote counts. Not that long ago huge segments of our society were not able to vote. In many countries of the world people are still denied the right to vote. Make sure that you know what you're voting for and why. Any opinion that can't be adequately articulated is less valid.

Freedom equals responsibility. It's great to be able to stay up as late as you want but the truth is that by the time you have the freedom to stay up as late as you want, you'll have too much to do in the morning to stay up late. Life is like that. Youth is wasted on the young.

Be sure that your words are not bitter because one day you may have to eat them. Don't assume you know everything. In fact, you'll find that the more you know, the more you'll realize how little you know. If you have an issue with someone, practice what you're going to say before you say it. Write it out, reword it, make sure that it's serious enough to risk damaging your relationship with that person. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Life is about change. Your ability to embrace and accept change will determine your level of satisfaction with life.

It's not always about you.

Don't bite your fingernails.

Don't eat dessert at every meal.

Always wear clean underwear.

Respect authority.

Never stop learning.

Pray every day.

Never forget your roots.

The most important thing I can share with you is that no matter how bad things seem, you can recover from anything except death.

Go forth and conquer!


Julie said...

Heather this is such great advise!!! I am going to copy this and tuck it in my sons graduation card tonight. I hope he takes the time to read it and take in the wisdom it offer. I couldn't agree with your advise more! Thank you! Julie


I like it!