Thursday, June 9, 2016

John Sanville's Remarks to the Class of 2016 - Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you #umatter

John Sanville and Jimmy Conley take a selfie during the brief power outage


Good morning and welcome one and all.


You have made it! 

But before you get your diplomas and run out of here to begin your post-high school adventures you will get to hear a little advice- from me, from your classmates, from Mr. Conley and Mr. Ahart. I hope you will listen with at least one ear because we have all been where you are right now.  We understand the feelings of excitement, anticipation and perhaps trepidation that you have.  Nonetheless we are going to try and give you a few nuggets of wisdom before you leave us.

There is no shortage of advice floating around in social media. Lots of memes often highlight some usable guidance.  Most center on time-honored maxims but there are some thoughts about new situations that our forbearers could not have considered.  Then there are the suggestions that appear to have been authored by someone whose sole intent is to wreak havoc in the lives of anyone following them. Let me give you a few examples that will show, clearly, I hope- the difference between the two.

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it - Margaret Thatcher- timeless lesson in perseverance- worth heeding.

Remember, French fries are gluten-free.  – Writer Jeanne Lavine- definitely 21st century information and great for those who follow gluten –free diets.

Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss - Probably the best words for today as there are both tears and smiles.

Don’t be the same- be better!Anonymous.  A little ambiguous but generally useful.  Do this whenever possible!

The best advice comes from strange people. -Anonymous again.  This one is probably right about a third of the time -- but depends on your definition of strange.

I have not failed I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work - Thomas Edison – this captures both optimism and hard work - so remember both the words and the author.

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain  - sound advice that works anywhere anytime.

Just glue it back together. Your parents will never notice.- Anonymous . Don’t try this one.  They WILL notice.

If your dog gets sprayed by a skunk wash him in tomato juice. more Anonymous advice – for those who have tried this – you know it is not true. However,  cleaning up the tomato juice mess after your dog shakes dry   may make you forget about the smell.

If your wife says she doesn’t want a birthday gift this year – don’t believe her. – John Sanville – Yes this bit of advice comes from yours truly. And as today is my bride’s birthday I can tell you – trust me on this one!

Life is a lot like these words of wisdom.  You will experience the good and the bad, there will be humor and adversity, and you will cry and you will laugh.  As young men and women setting out to navigate new places and to meet new faces you will be given lots of advice - from your parents, friends, relatives, neighbors, bosses, and maybe the Wawa cashier. It will be well-intentioned and probably mostly useful - as long as you don’t have a friend named Anonymous.

Now I invite you instead to think not only about the advice you will follow - but what you can offer to others.   Each of us has a unique set of abilities and experiences - that make us the only ones who have seen and done things from our perspective.  As you go forth in life as newly minted graduates you are sure to encounter someone starting something you have finished.   Make it a point to consider how your experiences can be used to help someone else. Save the things you figured out - and pass them on.  Remember when you erred and had to start over - and tell another how to avoid that.  In this way you will accrue wisdom….and it is never too early nor can you ever have enough. Wisdom is a valuable asset - to those who have it and those who are in need of it.

Of course I would be remiss were I not to offer some parting words full of sage advice.  I could tell you to work hard, be honest, and to savor this moment – but instead I will leave you with this . . .

Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.  – Dr. Seuss.- absolute, indisputable truth for the ages and one to remember.

Thank you and good luck.