No one will ever ask me to make a graduation speech. But I thought I’d have one ready, just in case. The graduates hardly listen, anyway. Even if they did listen, they wouldn’t remember a word. I know I don’t. I remember more of my children’s graduation speeches.
There was one that was so-o-o-o long, when the speaker said, “…one last point…” the graduates clapped. I felt embarrassed for the speaker. But I don’t think he understood, because he continued on and on, for an inordinately long time. The embarrassment I felt for him dissipated, and my feelings of incredulity over his lack of picking up social cues, superseded my previous sympathy.
Most of the other speakers were mercifully shorter. Those that made everyone laugh are the best. Speeches that are inspirational and funny are my favorite.
Do you see a pattern here?
I don’t remember any of these speakers’ names. None of them. Some of them were politicians. Some were academics. And that’s my point. People don’t remember your name; they probably won’t remember who you are. I’m very certain no one will remember that I’m a Senior Scribbler and have published articles in the Milford Daily News.
What people remember is how a speaker makes them feel. I remember the speeches which made me laugh. I remember the speeches which inspired me. I remember that boring professor from MIT that spoke way too long and couldn’t take the hint to conclude his speech.
Therefore, here’s my speech.
Only one thing is important in life. It’s how you treat others that are remembered.
Treat everyone with respect. This is a moral imperative! It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. We personally, need to set the standard. Everyone has human dignity. And I believe we affirm our own human dignity by the manner of respect we give others.
- Strive to be courteous. Never abuse, demean or physically harm anyone.
- People are not to be manipulated, exploited, or used to achieve private agendas.
- Never discriminate.
- People deserve second chances, and third, and maybe more -- depends.
- Listen with an open mind.
In conclusion, treat others the way you hope others will treat your children. That’s my paraphrase of the Golden Rule.
And I think that’s all that needs to be said.