Friday, May 31, 2013

8th Grade Graduation

My dad asked me to speak at the 8th Grade Graduation Ceremony at Vineyard Christian School this year. Here is the message that I shared with the kids, (I am sharing it here because I feel it is applicable to everyone at any age):

Congratulations on successfully completing the 8th grade. I say Congratulations because you are already more successful than a large majority of other children around the world. You are blessed with the opportunity to go to school, especially one where your teachers care about you. You are blessed with many opportunities. Opportunities to dream and make plans. Opportunities to experience new things and to expand your horizons.

When you start to look around you and see all of the opportunities you have, be excited. Be adventurous and be courageous. At my 8th grade graduation (where I was blessed with the opportunity of receiving my certificate of completion from my dad), one of my teachers told me, "never stop asking why." It wasn't meant in the obnoxious way of pestering my parents about why they wouldn't let me do something, it was meant to ask myself, to ask deep inside myself. To look at a situation and really ask myself, why. Why am I doing this? Why do I need to finish what I started? And perhaps most importantly, why not?

Chris Tomlin has a song that says,
 "I want to live like there’s no tomorrow
I want to dance like no one’s around
I want to sing like nobody’s listening
Before I lay my body down

I want to give like I have plenty
I want to love like I’m not afraid
I want to be the man I was meant to be
I want to be the way I was made"

 So why not try a new hobby? Why not try out for a sport you've never played? Why not continue to persevere? In the society we live in, there are so many voices you will hear talking to you. Voices coming at you from all directions and it is important to know which ones to listen to. Some will tell you how you need to talk or dress. Some will tell you what should be important to you. Some will encourage you and others will make you feel bad about yourself. You get to choose which ones to listen to! Don't turn into someone you aren't just so you have friends or are viewed well in the world's eyes. The world's voices will tell you you aren't pretty, strong, smart or talented enough to try new things. When you hear voices telling you that, ask yourself, "why not?"

You've probably heard people say things like "you only live once", and its true. You get one chance at life, its all or nothing. So why not? Why not make the most of it? Why not try something new just because it sounds like fun? Why not be the person to stand up for what is right, even when everyone else around you is doing the wrong thing? Why not let your light shine so brightly around you that people will see Jesus when they look at you?

Be yourself, be who God made you to be. You are a gift, there is only one you. Only one you in this crazy sea of 7 billion people on earth. Don't settle for being part of crowd, don't just go with the flow because it is easier. Why not be the person who changes the world?
And tonight, as you move from middle school into high school, dare to dream. Feel inspired. Get creative. Stand up and make a difference. Love with everything inside of you. And most of all, never stop asking why.

Me and Gabriella on our way home. She really wanted to go with me and did a great job. I love hanging out with my favorite little girlie!!

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