Monday, June 23, 2008

be exactly who you are.

Here he is.
Diploma in hand.
My graduate.

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...

Graduation Poem by Riley
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.
Push yourself.
Test your limits.
Break free.
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.
Support it.
Do everything you can.
One who does not try does not truly live.
Don’t float by.
Don’t be average.
Be superb.
Be stunning.
Scare the bejeezus out of the competition.
But most importantly,
Be you.
Be eccentric.
Be ostentatious.
Be special.
Throw yourself out there.
You were not created to do nothing.
Be exactly who you are.


grad speech
You've got it, kid.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riley! Hell yes!

Nice thing is, Sweetie, you can hang on to that poem and read it up there when you graduate from college. Yup. It's that good. And the best part about it is those are not just pretty, well-arranged words. They are you. Congratulations. BW

4:35 PM  
Blogger curious girl (lisa) said...

"shove away your anxiety and make room for something beautiful."

you raised one wise man. thank you for sharing with us; it was just what I needed today.

4:39 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

you got quite the kido on your hands-
Go Riley! and congrats for finishing off this step of your life.

12:44 PM  
Blogger dreamergirl said...

Riley, you have no idea how much your words helped me just now.
thank you so much.

Silvia

p.s. congrats on graduating :)

2:31 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

WOW....all of that from a 13 year old boy !!! Very, very mpressive !!

Happy Graduation !!

6:33 PM  
Anonymous amy said...

wow. i've never read your blog before today and don't know your family's story. i wandered over via hula seventy. please tell your son that there is someone on the other side of the ocean (sydney) who read his poem today and feels inspired by his wisdom and his moxie. take care.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Jamie Watson said...

Wow. I have tears in my eyes. I too, wandered here from Hula Seventy and took a peek at your beautiful blog. Your son's words have just made my day. I can only imagine how proud you feel. I hereby take a solemn vow to do my best to live by those words, in their infinite wisdom.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Ladyv said...

that is an incredible poem! so profound!
i'm going to copy it into my journal to read on a regular basis!

what a wise and wonderful fellow you've raised!

1:56 PM  
Blogger pakosta said...

what a beautiful speech from an equally beautiful boy....it's amazing how deep that is for such a young man!!! i would be so PROUD!
tara

1:15 PM  
Blogger LeS said...

Oh my...thank you all for your sweet comments to Riley (and I). He has been checking them and is indeed more proud after all of your words and encouragement.

I am one lucky mama :)

10:47 AM  
Anonymous angie said...

Very inspiring words! Thank you so much for sharing them.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Riley, I loved your graduation poem. It has a lot of meaning for young people just starting out and also inspired the older me who needs to make every day count. Love, Janet

10:01 AM  

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