The episode below is a speech given by a father for his son’s graduation.
Our children finish school today. It’s all going to be quite strange to them for a while, and I wish you would treat them kindly. You see, up to now they have been king of their roost and their parents have always been near to soothe their wounds and repair their feelings. Now things are going to be different. They are starting out on a new adventure.
It is an adventure that may include war, tragedy and sorrow. To make their way they will require a great deal of faith, love, tolerance and understanding. So, World, I wish you would look after them. Take them by the hand and teach them the things they will need to know, but please, do it gently if you can. They will have to learn that not all people are just, that not all people are fair, and that not all people are true. But also teach them that for every villain there is a hero, that for every crooked politician there is a great and dedicated leader, and that for every enemy there is a good friend. It will take time, World, but teach them that a nickel earned is of more value than a dollar found. Teach them to lose gracefully so that they will enjoy winning that much more. Steer them away from envy, if you can, and teach them the secret of quiet laughter.
Teach them to be at peace with their God. Teach them to be strong inside so they can stand the hurt of failure and keep the desire to try again until they succeed. Teach them to be gentle with gentle people, and to be tough with tough people.
Teach them to follow their judgment and not the crowd. Teach them to listen to all people, but to filter all they hear through a screen of truth. Teach them to laugh when they are sad, but also teach them that there is no shame in shedding tears. Teach them there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach them to disregard cynics and to beware of too much sweetness. Teach them to sell their brains and brawn to the highest bidder, but never to put a price on their heart and soul. Teach them if you can, not to compare themselves with others, as there will always be greater or lesser persons. Teach them instead to surpass their own accomplishments.
Teach them there is a time to gamble, but there is also a time to pass the dice. Treat them gently, World, but don’t coddle them; only the test of fire makes the finest steel. Teach them to have sublime faith in themselves as this will give them faith in mankind. This is quite an order, World, but see what you can do. They are such nice young people – our children.