Graduation Speech: It's All About the Lives We Touch

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To be honest, I felt daunted by the task of attempting to sum up "the future"; and, what few key points could I focus on that everyone could relate to and take interest in? After a few weeks of thinking about it, the answer struck me—absolutely nothing. With that in mind, the task became easier, for I no longer aimed to impress but to advise, no longer to appease but to guide. The final result was much more personal and thoughtful than I had ever intended. I asked around to my friends, "When you think of the future, what one word pops into your mind first?" One practical senior replied "technology." He is, of course, quite right. It is impossible to tell what specific advancements await the world in the near future, but it is important to realize that with the power to change the planet through a microchip or one single stem cell, comes the burden of great responsibility. Because of this, America's youth, us, needs to be more ethically attuned than ever before. We must weigh the outcome, the possibility for acclaim and money, always with the ethics of the means. It is only with a balance of technological advancement and morality that this country will move forward and prosper. Marian Wright Edelman succinctly explained, "If we believe in it, if we have faith in it, if we dream it, if we struggle for it, and if we refuse to give up, we can make America a place where truly no child is left behind. What good does it matter for us to be the richest, most powerful nation on earth and lose our soul?" An honest friend of mine replied "fear" when asked about the future. Truthfully, most of us here today are just a little bit afraid. Graduates: you're moving on to new and different things. Families: you're watching them do it. At this leaping-off point, a hand to hold is both a comfort and a guide. Should that hand grip too tightly, however, the spirit becomes shackled. It is impossible to learn, to explore, discover, and to grow under the constant protection of another¹s wing. Going it alone inspires imagination and resourcefulness. A mind accustomed to the direction of others, one that is used to being told what and when to feel, cannot learn the art of free will. Lastly, over sheltering infringes upon the development of the soul, an incarceration that leads to inner turmoil.

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