Of the many graduation speeches I've heard (and, as a former high school principal, pre-read) over the years, the ones that moved me the most were the ones filled with heartfelt and genuine GRATITUDE.
The speakers who acknowledge, reinforce, and express thanks to the countless others who helped them reach their goals - parents, friends, life-partners, teachers, pastors, aunts, uncles, siblings, coaches, counselors, professors, bosses, ................... that list goes on and on. The titles held by those supporters span a huge spectrum, yet there are some common characteristics that metaphorically describe their impact on us:
- Caregivers - they all care for us deeply and are not afraid to show it (somehow despite our many faults).
- Cheerleaders - they truly want us to succeed and publicly display it.
- Critics - they let us know when we've screwed up.
- Counselors - they guide us toward better decisions, and subsequent outcomes.
- Coaches - they push us, train us, hold us accountable, exhaust us, praise us, sweat-bleed-laugh-cry with us, push us some more.
"Onward and upward!" (as famously espoused by Reepicheep in The Chronicles of Narnia.)