High School Graduation Address
It took me three days of talking with people to decide what to say when I met with you today. I wanted choices before I made my decision. Everyone I respect knows about our meeting. Those people told me what to do, but I still had to make a decision. Since you were young, you made choices. I made my choice, which turned into a decision. Basically, that means I’m old. We always make choices. From now on, let’s call the choices we have to live with decisions. You are now adults. No choice there, huh?
Up until now you have haven’t had too many choices, and these choices were influenced a lot by decisions your parents made. Guess what? Time’s up. Don’t like surprises? Bum deal. Your friends deserve a round of applause for surviving decisions. Maybe your parents didn’t give you a lot of choices. Maybe they did. They may have had no reason to make their decisions. Maybe they have good reasons for what they did. Let’s say you don’t think they did the right thing. Maybe you think they did. I look at my childhood as an experiment in choices and decisions. How many are the youngest in their family? How many are the oldest? You had a choice about where you sat today. Look where you are.
Look where I am. Some of you don’t want to leave his place. Some of you can’t wait to leave. I’m kind of digging all this. Some of you want me to say something; like what’s inside you right now. Some of you know that I can’t. Some of you are sad, some of you are glad. I choose to believe most of you are glad and sad. Doesn’t it hurt so much you can cry and smile at the same time?
What happens next? I don‘t know. Maybe you don’t either. Maybe you do. My fearless prediction is that it’s your turn to make the biggest mistakes in your life. Nothing can stop you. You have plenty of time, plenty of energy, plenty of people to talk it over with- and if you don’t, get my card and send me an email- I bet I’ll learn more from you than you will from me. Look at how many mistakes I made to get here. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong jobs, wrong cars, wrong girls, wrong wife- Am I at the wrong school? Ha Ha. Do it again. Go ahead, laugh. Laugh until you cry. That means you’re alive. If you’re not; awake!
Nobody’s going to remember you laughing and crying here today. I might be wrong. I wanted to cry when I was sitting out there. I don’t want to give you the wrong reason to cry or laugh. I bet you can’t choose. That’s OK. You might not have too many reasons to laugh, unless your graduation gets streaked, or the principal and the librarians all shave their heads. Your parents know how to streak. HA. Not that all this matters, but, I’m curious…. How many people think the principal and the librarians should shave their heads and …. Tell them some of their hair might grow back. Whew. What a concept.
Let’s wrap up this bit now. Time to look at some choices. Let’s make a right mistake. Firstly, Thank-you Yogi. Thank-you Bart. Thank-you Jethro. Thank-you SpongeBob. Thank-you Jimi. Thank-you Curt. Thank-you Captain Kangaroo. Thank-you Sesame Street. Thank-you God. Hey- If life’s sucking, make NEW choices. It’s never too late. If everything’s peachy, be grateful. You’re lucky. Make good choices. Now is the absolutely perfectly right time to practice making good choices. Yes, indeed. Nobody gets enough practice. So practice. Practice making choices. Write down your choices. Don’t tell anybody or tell everybody. Everyone who cares about you will see the results of your choices. Make the right choices. And… You will be proud of your decisions. The right decisions let you have the right life for you. Somebody in this room might be up here doing what I do, and a lot of the rest of you will be sitting here with your own graduates.