It’s graduation season. And as such, scores of graduating students and their doting family and friends will be exposed to the senseless drivel known as a graduation speech. This speech is supposed to prepare the students to face the real world—or perhaps the “real world” of going to college. One last shot at making something out of these thugs.
Most graduation speeches follow the same format. And they are filled with inspirational quotes and silly sayings that somebody’s mom will post on Facebook three years later with pretty little flowers and a demand to share. Or maybe the saying will be really good and you’ll see it on one of those overpriced placards that people buy to put in their storage sheds.
Usually the graduates are just lied to. Here are six lies they’ll likely be told:
- You can be anything you want. Just dream and work hard. This sounds so wonderful and loving and I’ve heard it so many times I feel like a jerk saying it isn’t true. But it isn’t. It is true that hard work pays off. But if your singing voice is about as pleasing as listening to a goat giving birth, you aren’t going to be the next superstar no matter how hard you try or how much you dream. Truth be told your dream might be stupid. Because it’d harm you and it’d harm others, the Lord in his grace will crush your silly dream.
- Follow your heart. The people that don’t like you don’t matter. Donald Sterling followed his heart when he expressed his racist comments. Therefore, the people that disagree with him don’t really matter. He should just keep on being a racist and saying racist things. See how dumb that sounds? It’s only good to follow your heart if it isn’t deceptive and if it loves the things that it ought to love and hate what it ought to hate. That only happens through the redemption of Christ.
- These are the best years of your life. Not even close. If these are the best years of your life then you are well on your way to being Uncle Rico. Being a grown up and having a family, and real work, and being a grown man (or woman) is far better.
- Your life begins now. If you believe your life is just beginning now then you are going to be ill-equipped. You’ll end up either mooching off your parents or the government simply because you assumed that you once you received that piece of paper you’d be mature and you could simply flip a switch and stop playing beer pong and start holding down a job. Your life began many years ago,and if you’ve squandered all of those years leading up to this moment you’re going to have some serious catching up to do.
- Throw away the map and write your own story! Forget what the generations before you have taught. You live in the now and you write history. This sounds great now but I wonder what you’ll think about this quote in twenty years, when a new batch of grads are being told to throw away the map that you’ve been writing. We need history. There is nothing new under the sun. There isn’t a new story to write. There’s only the Grand Old Story to embrace and enjoy.
- It’s okay to fail. I confess, this one is partially true. But the way that it’s flippantly bandied about is not helpful. It is okay to fail, and by all means try new stuff. Put yourself out there. But there’s a little more pain that comes with failure when you have a wife and kids to support. Failure isn’t the end. But it’s not a good thing that ought to be celebrated. When you are twelve and your lemonade stand fails, it’s one thing. When you are older and have people that are banking on your not-failing it’s quite another. By all means dream and risk, but don’t be an idiot as you do that.
This is a tremendous time in the life of a graduate. It is a time to celebrate and it is a time to encourage and admonish. This is a new chapter in your life—may it be used for God’s glory. And don’t forget that the greatest problem in the world have already been solved through the blood of Jesus Christ. Live your life to make Him the only boast of your generation and you won’t go wrong.