Thursday, May 14, 2015

Letter to Graduates

Dear Graduates,

You will get a lot of these notes over the next few weeks: 

Make the world a better place. 
Live life with no regrets.
Chase your dreams. 
Laugh often. 
Work hard.
Love all.

It seems like yesterday to your parents when they dropped you off at Kindergarten for the first time. They wiped the tears from their eyes as this little person walked into this big door. Since that day you have attended school about 2,340 times. You have learned. You have made friends. You have been hurt. You have been mentored. Some days it was lots of fun. Some days it wasn’t much fun at all. Your parents are going to watch you graduate soon. The same teary eyes that dropped you off at Kindergarten thirteen years ago will surely well-up as you walk across the stage.

I want to tell you some things I wish somebody would have told me twenty-some years ago when I graduated from high school. Some I have learned from observation. Some I have learned the hard way.

Fail often and fail well. Failure is a necessary step to success and significance. Failure teaches courage, wisdom, humility, and perseverance like only failure can. I don’t want you to get to the end of your days wondering what might have been if you had only taken a risk, but didn’t, because of the fear of failure. Tomorrow’s dreams are made possible by today’s failures.

Don’t forget to play. People will tell you to study hard when you go to college and work hard when you get a job. I agree. But I want you to hear this: Don’t forget to play. My best memories in life are not sitting in front of my computer writing my dissertation or leading a meeting. My best memories are playing in a lake, exploring the world, and hanging out with friends and family. 

Love people and not possessions. Stuff can give you happiness for a while. People will give you joy and contentment for a lifetime. Spend much of your time, energy, and resources investing in people rather than acquiring things. You are designed to live in community with others and with God.

Have faith. Some things in life can be proven. Sound travels faster than light. The moon doesn’t shine its own light. But the most important things in life can’t be proven. We can’t prove a friend is a friend or that forgiveness is better than revenge or that love is better than hate or that God is holy. That is where faith comes in. Have faith in self, others, and God. You’ll need it because the most important things can’t be proven.

The best is yet to come…


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