Note: This is actually a speech that I wrote for Jarvie's Grad Nine Prom three years ago. The ten kids that I had the privilege of speaking to three years ago are graduating from high school today and I would like to share the same words with them and you today. Happy Graduation! I am so excited to do the Invocation at your ceremonies this afternoon too, what an honor!
Good evening students, teachers, parents, family, friends and honored Grade 9 graduates. I count it a privilege to have the opportunity to speak to you all this evening. I have titled my thoughts, in Between the Photo-ops. Before we get too far, I think I should give a brief definition of the word photo-op. A photo-op is a prime opportunity for pictures to be taken. Photo-ops often center around important events and each of our lives have many opportunities for these moments to take place.
The day that each of us were born was the very first photo-op. If you have a photo album of your life this is always the first picture that you will see. From that moment on, the album is full of other photo-op events such as your first steps, riding a bike for the first time, your first day of school...lunch bag in hand, your first school Christmas concert, piano recitals, hockey team pictures, your grade 9 prom, your first time behind the wheel, your wedding day, the births of your children, family vacations, special birthdays and anniversaries and eventually the retirement party.
If we were to look through the photo album of your life it would be filled with accomplishments and achievements of the things that you have been involved in or have had the chance to do. Theses events are important and worth taking a picture of but I would venture to say that 99% of our lives are lived in between the photo-ops. If this is true, what can we learn about life? If only 1% of our lives make up the special days that are definitely worth noting, the other 99% should be given specific energy and effort and even more notice by us. What I mean by this is that the kind of people that we are and that we practice being everyday may never end up in the photo album but this is a more accurate picture of who we really are. Every person has gifts and abilities that are unique to them. Every person's 99% will look different. We are faced with a choice, will we use our gifts and abilities to our own end or will we create a legacy that can truly change the world around us? At the end of your life will you be remembered for the fancy truck that you drove or that you were kind and lived generously? Will you be remembered for the doctorate degree that you earned or that you shared you life by serving others? Will you be remembered for the super model that you married or that you loved deeply and found joy in your family? The 99% in between the photo-ops is what you will be remembered for, even though there may not be a picture in the album to go with it.
I do not know what your specific future photo-ops will be, graduates, but I have caught glimpses, over the past three years, of the people that you will become if you are committed to continue learning and practicing the gifts and abilities that make you who you are.
On this photo-op day of your graduation from grade 9 (and grade 12), I would like you to take a moment to think about how you will live your life tomorrow, and the days after that until your next photo-op day. Each one of us here this evening has much to offer the world around us through the use of our gifts and abilities. In a world of poverty, war, loss, suffering, greed, terrorism, racism, striving and injustice; we can be the change that we want to see by using our 99% to be generous, make peace, and show mercy. We can be givers of our time, energy and resources. We can stand for justice. We can hope and dream about how our lives can and will be significant in the lives of others. This is the kind of life worth living and that will be honored at the end of our days. I believe in you, graduates. i know that you can and will become world-changers. live your life in between the photo-ops to the fullest; invest it in the lives of others. Thank you.
Another note: This will be my last post for a couple of weeks...I am taking a road trip with the family to soggy Saskatchewan! Oh, happy summer!! Peace!