Here is a copy of the remarks I made at the Northfield High School graduation ceremony today.
In the coming months, you will see a series of social media posts and news articles highlighting what experts believe to be the most memorable commencement speeches of 2018. I assure you this will not be one of them.
But seriously, this is a special day. It marks one of life’s key transition points. I am privileged to share a small part of it with you.
You enter this transition at a time where the rate of change is exponential compared to any other time in human history. The “real world” that awaits you is experiencing the most significant changes since the Industrial Revolution. The breakneck speed that technology is revolutionizing how and when we work can help humanity reach new heights. I am excited for you to enter adulthood at this thrilling time.
On the other hand, this revolution and the technological advancements that accompany it present enormous challenges. Your generation will be asked to respond to these challenges – social, emotional, political, medical, and ethical dilemmas. The good news is that I have complete faith in your ability to address those dilemmas.
While you graduate from high school today, you must embrace lifelong learning in a way not required of previous generations. You leave here prepared to take on the world as it exists today, but you will need to adapt to new realities on a fairly regular basis. The greatest gift that I hope Northfield Public Schools has given you is that you have “learned how to learn.”
In this age of change, you will also need to be more intentional about downtime. Research tells us taking frequent short breaks while working leads to greater productivity. It points to better emotional regulation through quality sleep, mindfulness, and exercise. It tells us stepping away from the busyness of life is essential for our physical health as well. Over the next few years, you will develop habits that will set the stage for the rest of your adult life. I encourage you to be intentional about developing these habits.
Finally, remember life is always about relationships. Be a good listener. Seek opinions different from your own and do your best to be understanding. Be kind. Be respectful. Think about how your actions impact others. Do good things for other people without any expectation of return. These things will bring what everyone here today wants most for you: happiness.
Thank you for your contributions to Northfield Public Schools. It has been an honor to serve you during the most formative years of your life. Congratulations. Your community is proud of you.