June 6, 2024

Graduates, here are some thoughts to savor




            What’s next?

            Some graduates know.

 Some don’t.

            When I graduated from high school, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. But when I graduated from the University of Georgia, I took a year off to satisfy Uncle Sam’s Army. During my gap year—at Fort Campbell and Fort Sill—I changed direction.

            To the surprise of my family and friends, I plunged into a career that had never crossed my mind. But when the opportunity popped up, that was that. Fifty-three years later, I am still on that path.

            By now the recent graduates have heard enough commencement addresses. I don’t have a speech to deliver, but I’m always scribbling down pithy quotes that inspire me.

            Graduates, maybe one of these will spark your imagination and drive, too.

            “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

–Babe Ruth, pro baseball player

            “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”

–Fred Rogers, TV host/author

            “I not only have the right to stand up for myself, but I have the responsibility. I can’t ask somebody else to stand up for me if I won’t stand up for myself. And once you stand up for yourself, you’d be surprised that people say, ‘Can I help you?’”

–Maya Angelou, poet/author

            “Look in the mirror rather than your neighbor.”

–Frank Sonnenberg, author

            “Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.”

–Confucius, Chinese philosopher

            “Until you’re ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.”

–Cher, singer/actor

            “Just because you haven’t found your talent yet doesn’t mean you don’t have one.”

–Kermit the Frog, Muppets of Sesame Street

            “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

–Paulo Coelho, Brazilian lyricist/novelist

            “You are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything.”

–Oprah Winfrey, American host/TV producer

            “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”

–Lucille Ball, actor/comedian

            “Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”

–J.D. McClatchy, American poet

            “Give a man a fire, and he’s warm for a day, but set fire to him, and he’s warm for the rest of his life.”

–Terry Pratchett, author/humorist

            “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

–E.E. Cummings, poet

            “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things only get better.”

–Stephen King, author

            “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

–Arthur Ashe, tennis pro

            “Mistakes are a part of the game. It’s how well you recover from them that is the mark of a great player.”

–Alice Cooper, singer/songwriter

            “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.”

–Naquib Mahfouz, Egyptian writer

            “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.”

–Mark Twain, writer/humorist

            “Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.”

–Charles Kettering, inventor/engineer

            “Men do not quit playing because they grow old. They grow old because they quit playing.”

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, American jurist

            And now—after all these years—folks ask, “Why do you keep on keeping on?” Albert Einstein knew the answer. The genius said:

            “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”