Friday, May 10, 2013

Senior Luncheon

Yesterday morning the seniors held their annual Senior Luncheon.  As Baccalaureate has been changed this year, this was the first time that a member of the staff and a member of the faculty were invited to speak at this luncheon.  David Barrowclough - Associate Registrar and I were selected by the seniors to speak with them at the luncheon.  Here is what I said to them:
Senior Class Luncheon
May 9, 2013
Good morning and thank you for asking me to speak with you today.  It is an HONOR.  I have just a couple of messages for you:
1.        Look around you - When you arrived on this campus just a few short years ago, unless you had been on POW or had participated in a MOVE or WILDERNESS project, you knew only about a handful of people here – NOW, as you prepare to leave us, you know literally hundreds of people – you have met perhaps a life-partner, a best friend, a soul mate – you have made friendships here which will last you your lifetime.  In just a couple of days you will walk across the dais in Ross and the President who is a VERY GOOD MAN, will hand you your diploma – because you are polite and thoughtful you will shake his hand and say thank you.  You do not give him back all that WE have taught you, both in and outside of our classrooms – you do not give him back all of your good times, your bad times, your challenging and joyful times – all of the things that WE have taught you - you walk off that stage on Sunday armed with all that we have taught you AND the knowledge that you have been successful – you have been successful HERE and you will be successful when you leave here.  We need you to be successful when you leave here – WE need you to help create a better world than the one we are handing off to you.
The Dalai Lama has said that our prime purpose in this life is to help others.  And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.  These are very wise words.
2.       You sometimes don’t realize that while it is the natural order of things that YOU leave us and move outside of the SMC bubble into what others call the “real world”, WE stay behind and many of us will miss many of you – YOU have impacted US more than you probably realize – for that I thank you. 
3.       The third and final message I have for you is this – this is something that I stress in all of my classes – once you are aware, you are responsible – the challenge for you is to ask yourselves what YOU will do to apply what WE have all taught you – again, both in and outside of our classrooms?  Once you are aware you ARE responsible – we have done OUR best to make you more aware – now it is up to you to be responsible.
You are responsible for:
1.       Not making assumptions
2.       Only applying labels to soup cans
3.       Confronting racism, sexism, homophobia and ethnocentrism wherever and whenever you encounter it.
4.       Remembering that there IS a war going on and people are dying every day.
5.       Educating yourself on the politics of this country and making your vote count – gun control in this country must change and YOU are the ones who may have to make those changes.
You are responsible for:
6.       Confronting your own and society’s heterosexual assumption – when heteronormality IS the standard for society we marginalize everyone who doesn’t FIT your or society’s image of what is normal and this inflicts more PAIN than you can ever know.
7.       Asking for help when you need it
8.       Crying when you need to
9.       Trusting yourself
10.   Trusting others
11.   Believing in yourself
12.   SAVING our planet
13.   Celebrating our differences and not merely “accepting” our differences.
You are responsible for:
14.   Continuing to challenge yourselves to be the absolute BEST:        best friends, best brothers/sisters, best sons/daughters, best   mothers and fathers, best citizens of this country.
15.   Enjoying life – safely – please PROTECT YOURSELF by making wise decisions.
16.   Discarding the “mask” whenever you can
17.   Stopping violence against women - and everyone else – including yourself.
18.   Taking care of both your physical and mental health
19.   And finally, you are responsible for continuing to teach the “older” adults” in your life at least half as much as you have taught me…..
Thank you again for asking me to speak with you all today – please take good care and as the Dalai Lama ALSO says, - whenever you have a choice – CHOOSE KINDNESS. 

No comments:

Post a Comment