Today, I continue my weeklong series on lessons learned by attending our high school's graduation last weekend. This weekend, I had the joy of attending the graduation ceremonies for my son's high school. Adam is only a Junior this year, but we were on hand to celebrate with several of his senior friends. Perhaps since my own son wasn't graduating, I did a better job of listening to each of the five individuals who spoke. I found that I took away a lesson from each of their speeches. This week, I will be highlighting one of those lessons each day.
The third speaker at the University High graduation was a student. Zeina Rousan, elected by her peers to give a commencement speech, must have spent the majority of her lifetime making her parents very proud. She's the type of young lady you immediately know is a winner. Poised, articulate, quick witted and extremely eloquent, Zeina most definitely has a bright future ahead of her.
Zeina's speech began by inviting those of us in the audience, and especially her graduating peers, to imagine ourselves running a race. She peppered the run with anecdotes of her fellow students, inviting us runners to take the breaks we needed, but also to push forward to the finish line. Then she asked us:
Did you win the race?
Our winning of life's figurative and literal races doesn't always mean being the first man to the finish line. Sometimes winning means actually just finishing, finding the endurance deep inside to press on when you simply want to quit. Victory can come in the form of beating our own best time, or in the helping of a friend to reach her goal, even when it means we have to slow down just a bit to accompany her.
In asking her peers if they won the race of completing high school, Zeina dared them to "get a better time" in their lives' next races. The experiences of each race equip us for the challenges that lie ahead of us in future contests. For the graduating students, completion of high school is only a precurser for the greatness that lies ahead of them, just waiting to be attained.
For all of us, the race varies from day to day. At times it's a sprint, at times a marathon. Finishing demands patience, a strategy and most of all a winning attitude. Zeina's speech reminded me to run each day's portion of my life's race with vigor and gusto.
I dare myself to win.