Barnes: Some thoughts for graduating classes
This is the season for graduations and commencement addresses. It’s been years since I spoke at a high school graduation but if I were to give another one it would likely include some of the following thoughts.
• I hope each of you will live a successful life. But of more importance, I believe, is to lead a valuable life. To become a person whose life has value for others is our highest calling.
• Your character, decency and compassion will become increasingly important was you age. I urge you to prioritize their development.
• I hope you discover what really matters in life and that you never forget it.
• One critical sign of maturity is reaching a point in your life when you are no longer primarily governed by what others think of you; you feel reasonably satisfied with your self and your self-development.
• I hope you soon learn that to understand others is directly related to the degree that you understand yourself.
• High among the most important lessons in life that is critical to your development is to understand the meaning of love. It is best to approach this lesson unselfishly, patiently and with a sense of wonder.
• The more you are exposed to kindness and love, the kinder and more loving you will become.
• There is, in most people, human decency. Look for it. It will most often be found in those who truly care for others.
• One sigh of maturity us when you achieve success without depriving others of their successes.
• Try to understand that intelligence is no guarantee of wisdom, nor does sensitivity mean you will be more compassionate toward others. Intent, purpose and commitment must be factored into these equations. I believe you will find that compassion is more critical to your development as a human being than intelligence.
• Treat people the way you would like to be treated and you will always have caring friends.
• To truly enjoy your life, work at developing a sense of humor. No matter how well it works for you today, it will become more essential and critical as you confront the challenges of tomorrow.
Learn to appreciate whimsy, irony, comedy and buffoonery which you will observe in the human condition. And learn to laugh. . . frequently, and with gusto. Your mental and emotional health is at stake.