SEYCOVE GRAD SPEECH – June 8, 2012
Welcome faculty, parents, family members, friends and special guests as tonight we honour the 2012 Seycove Secondary graduating class and celebrate their achievements on the traditional territories of the T’sleil Waututh Nation. And what a graduating class they are as we will be handing out 204 scholarships this evening totaling $622,000!
Recently, this true story was passed on to me that I thought appropriate to share with you this evening…
This woman was at the airport with time to spare before her plane was ready to board. She decided to goto the bookshop and bought a magazine to read along with some cookies to munch on while she waited at the terminal. Shortly after she sat down in one of the chairs – a man came and sat down next to her but one seat over because there was a bag of cookies in the seat right beside the woman. A few minutes later this man who is a complete stranger decides to grab the bag of cookies, opens it and takes a cookie, puts the bag back without saying a word. Well this woman cannot believe it – who does this guy think he is. After taking a minute to cool off – she thinks maybe he thought someone else left the cookies behind and decides to take a cookie to show him whose cookies they are. Well almost immediately after, he takes another cookie and this woman cannot believe the audacity so she takes a second cookie which prompts the two going back and forth not saying a word to each as they polish off the bag of cookies in no time. Once the cookies are finished, the gentleman gets up, walks away and is never to be seen again.
Finally, it is now time to board the plane and the woman opens her purse to retrieve her boarding pass only to see the bag of cookies she purchased.
How quick we can be to judge sometimes. I know as parents and educators we can be quick to judge the adolescents in our lives as one thing is for sure they are different…I guess that counts as a judgement. I was reading a book called Nurture Shock that commented although the antonym to honest is lying…and the opposite of arguing is agreement…in the mind of teenagers – that is not how it works. Really to an adolescent, arguing is the opposite of lying. The author explains that teens would tell the truth to their parents about things they knew their parents would disapprove. And more often than not – teens told the truth in hopes their parents might give in and say it was okay…usually this meant an argument ensued…but worth it if their parents could budge…arguing is good…arguing was honesty…although arguing is stressful to us as parents and educators given we feel and judge it as disrespectful – these young adults are often challenging the status quo and I would suggest well on their way to becoming indispensable.
Which leads me to another author named Seth Godin, who in his book “Are you Indispensable,” makes some compelling but also common sense points worth sharing. To our Seycove Grads, I ask are real leaders the ones who do exactly what other people want them to do…show up and don’t give anyone a hard time..or…are real leaders people that can see the reality today and shape a better tomorrow? Grads, as you think back on your thirteen years of schooling – what did we teach you or more appropriately – what have you learned? Is it to: Fit in, follow instructions, take good notes, show up, cram for tests, have good handwriting, don’t ask questions, don’t challenge authority, get into university, don’t fail…you get the idea…which one of these traits are the keys to being indispensable?
Let me offer some more profound characteristics that I hope you have learned from a number of people including your teachers, parents and coaches and will continually learn throughout your bright futures. Fail and fail often as you can’t truly learn if you do not make mistakes. And as difficult as it will be…extrapolate the positives. Follow your passions and great things will happen. Surround yourself with caring people and be relentless in pursuing your goals. With such rapid change taking place in our society – Godin quotes “yesterday’s remarkable is today’s really good and tomorrow’s mediocre.” But grads, just remember to be remarkable or indispensable is not about being perfect. If you think about someone you know who you would define as indispensable…chances are the characteristics I just shared would surface.
Continue to challenge the status quo, continue to argue and as you move on to new exciting challenges in your lives – every one of you has the capacity to be indispensable.
To the Seycove Graduating Class of 2012 and on behalf of the entire Seycove community – our sincere congratulations!