A Message to H.S. and College Graduates

What you do today determines your level of happiness tomorrow. I sure wish this was my graduation speech. View the full transcript below.

I’m going to tell you young men and women today that life sucks.

You may think it sucks now, but it gets worse. You are probably going to be unhappy in your life.

Here’s the thing. We’re all kind of bred into this society where we’re taught that if you work hard enough and believe enough, that you’ll become everything you want to be. That’s not true.

Something that all young people need to learn is that nobody cares about you. Your mom may, your dad might, maybe your brothers and sisters, but outside of that, no one cares for you. If my best friend were faced with the choice of his family getting blown up in a bomb, or me getting shot in the head, he’s going to choose me getting shot in the head. Because nobody cares about you. When you get a job, your boss is not going to give a crap about you.

Oh, and by the way, you’re going to be about 30 times smarter than your boss and much more educated. They’re going to make the dumbest decisions, and you’re going to scream and yell and say, “You know what? I can do a better job!” But nobody cares. Nobody cares! The only thing that’s important is that that comfy chair in the corner office is filled. Oh, and by the way, there’s a line of people waiting to be next, waiting to be next.

I hope you don’t end up like me, where you get into a company after company after company. You work hard and you set high expectations for yourself, and you run into the glass ceiling every time. Every time. Every time.

You know where I’m heading now? I’ve got this suit and this tie. I’m looking real nice and fancy. Well, I’m heading to a Sam’s Club to sell therapeutic back massagers. Yup, I’m that guy that’s gonna pull you aside and try to get you to buy something that you don’t want. Do you think I like that? Do you think I go to bed every night looking forward to another day of making hardly any sales?

You know what sucks most about life? We all have one chance. It’s crazy when you think about that. It’s like, you’ve got one chance to pick one career out of the millions that are out there. You have one chance to pick a place where you love to live. Pick a passion. One chance to set up a life for yourself that you love to live.

I wish… I don’t know. I wish I could do it over again. And maybe…. maybe you can. Don’t, don’t find yourself in this position where you’re sitting in a Sam’s Club waiting to go inside to be rejected time and time again because nobody wants to buy the product that you’re selling. Don’t. Don’t do that.

I guarantee you that you’re going to look back one day and you’re doing to wish beyond anything else that you can redo it. Consider this your redo.

Let’s just say you’ve already lived my life. Let’s just say you’ve already been on the streets. Let’s just say you’ve already struggled. You’ve already lived an unhappy life. Pretend that you’re already living your second chance!

Pretend that you are your future. That you don’t like what you do, that your job makes you miserable, that the glass ceiling has beat you black and blue! Pretend that you’ve been through it all. Pretend that you’ve been through the thick and the worst of it. And decide today at the start of summer vacation, that you are going to fix it!

You’re going to make a good life for yourself. You’re going to set up a life that you love! No matter how much hard work it takes. Start today. You’re going to have the rest of your life to do anything you want. But you’re not going to if you’re stuck at a 9-5 where you’re working for five different managers who don’t give a rip about you.

Guys, figure out what you want to do. And figure it out now. Now is your time to invest in what you love. Forget the sports cars, forget the money, forget the girls, for now. Take all the money you have and put it in what you love. What do you love to do? Get good at what you love! Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re working for five different bosses. Because you’re not going to get their seat. You’re not going to get their offices. It’s not going to happen.

No matter how good your intentions, no matter how honorable your ideas are, you’re always going to be told no. Well, this is the biggest yes you’re going to get in your life. Go for it. Go for whatever it is you want to do. Make it your life. Make it your passion, and do it. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I really think it’ll be worth it.

Now you probably need a laugh:

Standing Up to Bullying is Not Enough

Anti-bullying campaigns have become a rally call for kids who are being harassed and picked on in the schoolyard and at home. When I was growing up, bullying was almost more of an initiation process certain kids had to go through in order to be accepted into the group. The eighties and nineties was a good time to be a kid because racism was a distant memory our parents carried with them and sexual orientation wasn’t to become more prominent until after we graduated from high school. In those two decades of rest, the only way you were going to have a hard time at school was if you were a punk, annoying, or bad at sports – in which case, you just had to prove yourself to be accepted and everything was cool. Things are much different now and the stakes are much higher, as the movie Bully, due to hit theaters nationwide this Friday, suggests.

With the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, and other major networking devises invading nearly every home in America, bullying doesn’t stay on the schoolyard like it used to. With girls feeling more pressure than ever to look a certain way, and guys required to put on a certain façade, bullying has cut deeper into the core of people’s beings more than ever before, and it has more tools to do so more than ever. The onslaught and brutality of bullying today, in its many forms, has caused many children to turn the gun on themselves, believing that there was no way to escape it. It’s not child’s play anymore.

But we’re not going to discuss bullying here. Instead, we’re going to look at the other end of the spectrum. We’re turning our sights from the wicked assailants to the “helpers” of victims of bullying. There are many people who have good intentions to help those who are suffering from this devastating plague. No child or adolescent should ever feel like their life is being threatened or that there’s no safe place to go to share their hurt and pain. But allow me to propose a thought:

Telling kids that they’re all right just the way they are is just as harmful as bullying.

Let me quickly disparage any notions by stating what I don’t mean. If a boy would rather play a flute than with a ball, I don’t think you should take the flute away. If a girl would rather play softball than take dance, get her a glove for her birthday and play catch with her. I’m not talking about skill preference here.

Consider this story: Let’s say I was born, naked, as we all are. The nurses cleaned me up, cut the cord and took care of all the procedures. If my parents took me home without any clothes on, people would consider that to be a bit cruel. But let’s say some years pass and they still never put clothes on me. Soon, I’m heading off to school buck-naked and hopping around the schoolyard totally exposed. When people question my parents about this, they look stunned and say, “Well, he was born that way.” Just because a baby is born with six legs doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remove them if it’s not life-threatening. If a child is born with a tumor, there’s no reason to keep it there just because he’s born with it.

Folks, we cannot let this generation of kids grow up believing that they’re okay just the way they are, sin and all. Yes, we must stop the bullying. But at the same time, lovingly come alongside children and tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s not right for a boy to kiss other boys. Why? Because God will seriously deal with those who choose to give in to the wicked desires of their hearts. When we tell children (or adults for that matter) that it’s okay to “love” who you want, how you want, and when you want, and be who you choose to be (gender-speaking), then we are inviting the wrath of God to be poured out on them, and we are in essence just as bad, if not worse, than the kids sending hate messages to their inboxes.

I am not saying that we can force anyone to do anything or make certain choices. But I am saying that we are doing them a disservice if we don’t point a way out of their bully-infested torture chambers. When we say to a little girl who likes other girls that she should just accept who she is, we are only locking her into a dark and terrifying room of uncertainty, fear, and cosmic wrath. It is our job then, to open the door to that cell by showing them that there is another way to live, and that is by following the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not bullying. This is true, true love, which leads to freedom. Could that little girl still struggle with her sexual orientation even after she’s accepted the Lord’s invitation to follow Him? It’s very likely, but she will be free to choose against her fleshly desires and stand up to those who tell her to accept who she is.

Bullying is a more serious issue than it ever has been before. But an evil which is just as great is also on the rise: tolerance (or ignorance). To make kids think that they have to be gay if that’s how they feel, or to tell them that there’s no sense in trying harder at a sport or skill if they’re not any good at it, or to feed them until they’re full and happy, is just plain hatred and spite. Coddling our children’s sinful behaviors breeds a generation of ignorant, lazy and miserable people.

Let us love our children and our neighbors instead, and show them the path of righteousness that will lead to a freedom they would have never imagined in their entire lives.

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