Eminem, Akbar and The Graduates of 2017!

Spring brings with it one of the most treasured, and sometimes dreaded, experiences in modern civilization: commencement exercises!  These moments serve as both punctuation and milestone.  They are times for reflecting on accomplishment and opportunities for renewed goal setting.

I’ve attended many graduation exercises.  Some have been for myself, some for friends and colleagues and many for students I’ve taught.   The most touching have been for my children and other family members.  As different and varied as they have all been, they have also had many similarities.  They have been filled with celebration, shouts, dances, tears and thanks.  They have also included words of wisdom offered by students and distinguished guests.  

Much of that advice has been offered with earnestness and enthusiasm.  Sometimes the presenters took themselves very seriously, sometimes not.  In most cases, I believe the presenters were giving the informatiom that had proven to be particularly valuable to their personal success.  I believe they wished that these ideas would be treasured, though most realized that the words wold likely be forgotten before the graduates changed out of their caps and gowns and the last strains or pomp and circumstance faded away.  

That’s a shame.  To think that a lifetime of wisdom would be shared and lost within minutes.

So today I wish to share some highlights from a recent commencement that I attended at Snow College.

You can accomplish far more than you think you can if you keep your focus on the next milestone.  Jessica Guymon Cox was one of the student speakers.  She spoke of the power of concentrating on the next goal, relating her educational and life success to experiences she had climbing in the mountains of Utah with her father.

Any life experience can be related to farming, even if it is only removing rocks.  Bryce Wayne Sorenson was the other student speaker.  He spoke of how his life as a farmer prepared him to be successful at school, both in the classroom and in the dorm room prank wars.

Special thanks go to my parents, who did all the heavy lifting associated with my success.  Wayne Stoddard, one of the distinguished guests,  spoke only briefly, but appeared earnest as he credited his parents with having set the stage for the success that he has enjoyed in his life.

Learning how to learn is the most important skill to learn in today’s economy.  Lt. Governor Spencer  and Abby Cox shared the podium, and the rest of the quotes are theirs.  The Lt. Gov. began his talk saying that he was going to use a Winston Churchill quote, and then quoted “If you had one moment, one opportunity . . . ” immediately recognized as the into lines from Eminem’s Lose Yourself.  He had my undivided attention from that point on.  

Don’t buy into the idea that life is primarily about choices between polarized opposites; as Admiral Ackbar said,”It’s a trap!”

HONESTY should always rule your life and choices.

Find someone to fall in love with that makes you a better person, and thenjoy fall in love with them over and over again.

By the way, he did use a quote from Winston Churchill, closely related to the Eminem quote: To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents.  What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.

The graduates who attended the commencement at Snow College may not remember thsee remarks, but I will.  Hopefully you will, as well.  And hopefully we can continue to share these through our words and our lives .

Go forth and conquer.

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