8th grade wisdom

carpe diem

Last week I attended an 8th grade graduation. This marked the end of my three month revisit to the school I’d regarded for many years as the best place I’ve had the chance to be an educator in; and, I still feel that way.

Here’s one reason.

Just at a time when I needed a universal message, an inspirational tap, an emotional nudge…I found it in the crafted words of a 13 year old, standing on stage, ready to embark in the next big thing in her life. With short breaths, she offered something for us all to take away. It went like this.

A quote that has always stuck with me since the first time I saw the movie Letters to Juliet is:

What and if are two words as non threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: what if?”

So, what if you had no fear? Everything you want is on the other side of fear; so, what would you do if you had no fear? Fear can rule your life, making your world smaller and smaller until it is only you left. But my hope for you is, as Nelson Mandela said, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

Courage does not come from living without fear, courage comes from being scared to death but still doing the right thing. As we leave Julia Morgan today, we enter a world much bigger than the one we have been in for the past few years.

So, take risks even if you fail, be yourself even if you get weird looks, fall in love even if it hurts. We are strong because we have been weak. We are fearless because we have been afraid. We are wise because we have been foolish.

[image: seize the day clock at JMSG]


  1. Did this 8th graders say everything in the italics above? Simply wonderful! I too went to an 8th grade graduation last week, my step-son’s :)

  2. Yes, can you believe that? While the other speeches were personally sentimental, she really dove into introspection. I was floored. Thanks for your comment and congrats on your step-son’s next phase :)

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