Advice for our kids: Your life is precious

Peg Breen: May 28, 20130 Comments

A beautiful Memorial holiday weekend has just passed and so have many of the graduation ceremonies across the country.   If you just received your diploma for your undergraduate or graduate degree, please accept my hearty congratulations! You’ll never regret having sacrificed and labored so hard to win it.  If you have kids who have just passed this milestone, take a moment to breath in the smell of parental success.  The worrying isn’t over, but we can let go a little because now, as adults, our kids get to practice doing real life.

So what did you write in his graduation card?  Or whisper in her ear as you hugged her right in front of her friends all dressed up in blue caps and gowns?  I never seem to muster the words I’d like to say at the moment I should say them, so every year I listen in for nuggets of wisdom in the latest graduations speeches at colleges across the country.  I’ve included a few of my favorites below along with a link or two to those that inspired me or made me laugh.   If you would like to share with us the words of encouragement and wisdom you said to your kids about the road ahead, please share by replying to this blog.

Congratulations and best wishes to all our CMC graduates for a life filled with love and adventure!

Jon Lovett– 2013 Pitzer College Commencement speech, Claremont CA

“Don't cover for your inexperience. You are smart, talented, educated, conscientious, untainted by the mistakes and conventional wisdom of the past. But you are also very annoying. Because there is a lot that you don't know that you don't know. Your parents are nodding. You've been annoying them for years. Why do you think they paid for college? So that you might finally, at long last, annoy someone else. And now your professors are nodding.”

Jon Lovett titled his speech, “Life Lessons in Fighting the Culture of Bullshit”.   He is not to be confused with Jon Lovitz, the pathological liar character on Saturday Night Live.  Different guy, but equally as funny.

Barack Obama – 2013 Morehouse College Commencement Speech

“Keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner. Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important...”

Barack Obama, the 44thPresident of the United States, struggled growing up with the perceptions of his multi-racial background.  His father was from Kenya and his mother from Kansas.  And yet he says, this experience helped shape his values.  This demonstrates an aptitude that I hope my son can master.  That is, when he encounters struggles, I hope he learns something about himself and because of that, builds resilience.

Michael Lewis – 2012 Princeton Graduation Address

“Don’t be deceived by life’s outcomes.  Life’s outcomes while not entirely random have a lot of luck baked into them. With luck comes obligation.  You will be better off if you believe that you don’t disserve (all the good luck).”

Michael Lewis is the author of “Moneyball”.  Remember the movie starring Brad Pitt?.   He discovered in college that writing was his passion, even after his senior thesis professor made this comment about his writing-  “Never try to make a living at it”.  Note to self:  Never listen to the constant critic (the one in your head or the one in your office).

And finally, my personal favorite:  
Eric Idle2013 Whitman College Graduation Address 

“Your life is precious. You've only got one. Don't waste it on bad relationships, on bad marriages, on bad jobs, on bad people. Waste it wisely on what you want to do. But if you're still playing beer pong five years from now you may be on the wrong track.”

Erik Idle starred with John Cleese in the 60s TV show - Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  My favorite memory of time with my older brother is sitting down to watch this British sketch comedy show.  Cheers everyone!

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