I thought I’d do a non-denominational, somewhat secular, spiritual, enlightening, thought-provoking feature on Sundays, when I feel like it. This weekend, I feel like it….but I am not sure it will meet any of that criteria.
With graduation speeches going on nationwide, it’s highly likely the vast majority of the commencement speeches are the traditional:
…you are the best, you are special; you can conquer hunger, disease, and a whole host of other maladies that no one before you has ever been able to defeat. But, you are the chosen generation and the ones you have been waiting for…so get ready to make the world rise up and obey your every command, get ready to heal it so it can rise up and walk with its chair.
But this one is different:
It wasn’t a dynamic delivery. There were no raving masses, no one chanted the speaker’s name in cadence and/or tune. It was monotonous, dry, and would make a speech teacher cringe when he/she wasn’t fighting sleep. But what the delivery lacked, the content clearly did not. The words were truth, they were reality, even though very few people have the scrotal integrity to speak them in a public setting with teachers in the room.
And while he was primarily speaking to kids who have exercised the same egocentric behaviors as past generations, he was also speaking to their parents as well. These kids are the product of the parents, like we are the products of our parents (and our parents were theirs). Pampering kids too much yields dependence, not teaching them in reality yields delusional expectations and a pattern of disappointments later in life.
So before we get caught up in a speech that sounds pleasing to the ear and stirs up unwarranted emotions in desperation, we should listen to the verbiage and analyze the validity the words may (or may not) have. We need to measure them carefully and see if they line up with rational principles that have passed the test of time and heavy critique. We must make sure we can determine the objectives of the speaker and those he/she represents, we must hear the true message.
If there is no message or it is too flawed to trust, it must be ignored. Truth does not always come in the form of tonal inflection, but rather it comes in the form of well-constructed sentences placed together in such a way as to form clear and communicative thoughts.