Here he is.
Diploma in hand.
All 200+ kids in his eighth grade graduating class were required to write a speech for the ceremony. The individuals that checked the box to 'compete' for the honor of actually delivering their speeches were many. Riley made the semi-finals, the first cut. And then the finals - down to the last eleven young men and women. He called me to tell me the news of how the final round went before he even got to our front door, "I did great Mom - I feel really good about this no matter what!." I hung up and did my crying right there and then - not worried about the outcome - just proud of the remarkable being he has become. Yet pride really is far too insignificant a word at times like these. He got the news the next day. He was not destined to be the final one this time. He handled it beautifully, was asked at the ceremony to stand with the other finalists. But the most beautiful thing happened. He asked if he could deliver it for the family at the lunch we were to have before. He did deliver it to us, at home, over half eaten plates full of goodies I had lovingly prepared. And we sat with our mouths open, all affected differently yet profoundly by the words of this thirteen year old being who I call my own. I promised him that I would share his words with all of you, too...
Determination. Willpower. Perseverance.
They mold your life.
Throughout a day, a year, or a lifetime, if accomplishment is your goal,
The largest component is you.
But do not feel alone, there is an entire Universe in your mind.
Test your limits.
Run with it.
When it all seems to stack up, take it easy.
Take it one step at a time and you can accomplish anything.
Puncture the film of distraction.
Crash through the wall of cowardice.
Shove away your anxiety and make room for something beautiful.
There is power in numbers but also power in the individual.
You can get what you want or get what you need.
You can make dreams real.
Trust in your ability to make a difference.
Choose a cause.
Do everything you can.
One who does not try does not truly live.
Don’t float by.
Don’t be average.
Scare the bejeezus out of the competition.
But most importantly,
Throw yourself out there.
You were not created to do nothing.
Be exactly who you are.