01 October 2007

Speech given by a father for his son's graduation

The episode below is a speech given by a father for his son's graduation.
You may read it as a parent or as a son/daughter. Whoever you read it as,
there is something for everybody :

"Dear World:

Our children finish school today. It's all going to be quite strange to
them for a while, and I wish you would treat them kindly.

You see, up to now they have been king of their roost and their parents
have always been near to soothe their wounds and repair their feelings.
Now things are going to be different. They are starting out on a new
adventure. It is an adventure that may include war and tragedy and sorrow.
To make their way they will require a great deal of faith, love, tolerance
and understanding.

So, world, I wish you would look after them. Take them by the hand and
teach them the things they will need to know, but please, world, do it
gently if you can.

They will have to learn that not all people are just, that not all people
are fair, and that not all people are true. But also teach them that for
every villain there is a hero, that for every crooked politician there is
a great and dedicated leader, and that for every enemy there is a good

It will take time, world, but teach them that a nickel earned is of more
value than a dollar found. Teach them to lose gracefully so that they will
enjoy winning that much more.

Steer them away from envy, if you can, and teach them the secret of quiet
laughter. Teach them to be at peace with their God. Teach them to be
strong inside so they can stand the hurt of failure and keep the desire
to try again until they succeed. Teach them to be gentle with gentle
people, and to be tough with tough people.

Teach them to follow their judgement and not the crowd. Teach them to
listen to all people, but to filter all they hear through a screen of
truth. Teach them to laugh when they are sad, but also teach them that
there is no shame in shedding tears. Teach them there can be glory in
failure and despair in success.

Teach them to disregard cynics and to beware of too much sweetness. Teach
them to sell their brains and brawn to the highest bidder, but never to
put a price on their heart and soul.

Teach them if you can, not to compare themselves with others, as there
will always be greater or lesser persons. Teach them instead to surpass
their own accomplishments.

Teach them there is a time to gamble, but there is also a time to pass the

Treat them gently, world, but don't coddle them; only the test of fire
makes the finest steel. Teach them to have sublime faith in themselves as
this will give them faith in mankind.

This is quite an order, world, but see what you can do. They are such
nice young people - our children".

(Avril Johannes)

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