Returning to the podium

by Lesley on June 17, 2010 · 7 comments

in growing up,lessons learned

Commencement

She’s always reminded me of my teenage self. And on Wednesday, the resemblance was even more striking. On a similar June afternoon ten years ago, I, also a Warrior, stood dressed in a red gown. This time, I sat in the stadium seats between hundreds of proud parents holding leis.

When Maddy walked in, I spotted her easily. She’s taller than most of the other girls, and some of the boys too. How I know that feeling. Her long blond hair was down, and her cap on tight. She scanned the crowd looking for mom and dad. We all waved when she looked up.

When they welcomed her to the stage, their valedictorian, my own speech came rushing back. Unlike Maddy, I hadn’t received the highest honors. But, similar to her, I’d also stood on that podium.  We both felt the weight of this moment perhaps more so than other high school students who speak to their peers on graduation day. This speech couldn’t be confused with the lyrics of a Vitamin C graduation song. No, this speech had to be better than average. It had to offer new perspective, depth, and meaning. It couldn’t be about us.

She delivered her speech beautifully, touching on her time spent in Fresno on a missions trip. She spoke about joy and community. She spoke about tough stuff. She spoke about hope. And, she made me laugh, as any good speechwriter will do.

When she finished, she sat back down into a sea of students who would soon become distant memories. They would march out of that stadium together just an hour later, into their own lives. Some of them will go on to do great things. Some will fail miserably. They will all realize that high school, while formative and fun at times, is not the real world. The real world, they will discover, is not about us. No matter how “successful” we become this world is not about the clothes we wear, the cars we drive, the promotions we seek, the accolades we achieve. As Nicole Nordeman sings, our life should be about: “Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough to leave a mark on things? I want to leave an offering…a child of mercy and grace who blessed your name unapologetically and leave that kind of legacy.”

It’s not very often we get the chance to stand at a podium, and speak mercy and grace. But each day, we have opportunities to love big, and offer God praise for these great lives He has given us. I am so proud of Maddy for taking her moment at the podium. And I am reminded, to keep going back to the podium myself.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Share
3 comments
Jeff
Jeff

We have the videotape somewhere "close." Might be time to pull it out.

Lesley
Lesley

Aw shucks, Dad. :) I love that you call me your little "goil." Thanks for the praise. Where is that speech by the way?

Dad
Dad

My daughter is far too modest for self glorification, but let me share with anyone reading this, that my little goil gave the finest commencement speech I and many others had ever heard. I say this not because I am her dad but because it is true. The Vice-Principal said to me later that day, "That is the finest commencement speech by a student I have ever heard." Lesley spoke about the Greatest Generation, people raised during the Depression and WWII. She told her class how the GG persevered through challenges and heartaches that we in the following generations could never imagine. She challenged her class to become the next Greatest Generation. I am so proud of not only what she said that day, but how she said it. Proud, happy tears were flowing from me, and I am not ashamed to admit it. Thanks for giving me a forum for bragging just a little, Lesley. I could brag a lot more about my little goil : ) A very proud father

Trackbacks

  1. Bathmate X40 says:

    Bathmate X40

    Returning to the podium – Barefooton45th Barefooton45th

  2. Lawyer For Injuries in Car Accident

    Returning to the podium – Barefooton45th Barefooton45th

  3. ???????????????????

    Returning to the podium – Barefooton45th Barefooton45th

  4. free itunes says:

    free itunes

    Returning to the podium – Barefooton45th Barefooton45th