Commencement Address 2024

Written on May 26, 2024.  1:34pm – PST.  Published on May 31, 2024.  3:00am – PST


Ladies and Gentlemen, congratulations!!  This is the day you have worked so hard to enjoy.  Also, this is the day when mom and dad feel – old.

There are so many topics I have to choose from, but I sincerely want to avoid being the latest meme on social media.

Therefore, I have chosen the topic:  OVERCOME THE FEEL-GOOD CURRICULUM.

The “feel-good curriculum?”  And, that is going to avoid being the latest meme on social media?  Nope.  But, making the goal not to be mocked on social media is an unsurmountable goal.


Now, I do sound like a person who grew-up and spent much of my time being part of the “feel-good curriculum.”

What is the “feel-good curriculum” that you are going to have to overcome?  Great question.

Too many of the adults in your lives have made your self-esteem (“feel-good curriculum”) as important, if not more important, than the actual subjects!  And, I apologize for being a part of that.

In Dr. Maureen Stout’s excellent book published January 6, 2000 (24 years ago; the eleventh year of my career), THE FEEL-GOOD CURRICULUM:  THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA’S KIDS IN THE NAME OF SELF-ESTEEM, she writes:  This is what professors of education believe schools should be like:  places in which children are insulated from the outside world and emotionally – not intellectually – nourished.  We should expect nothing of them but give everything to them; they should be cared for, counseled, and analyzed, and the whole school environment should be centered on their needs. Schools are no longer for learning essential skills or acquiring knowledge but for cultivating what Daniel Goleman calls “emotional intelligence” : the ability to get along with others, understand one’s feelings and one’s emotional hang-ups, and generally figure out how to deal with others effectively.

Later in that same chapter, if acquiring high self-esteem has replaced the ideals of creating a civil society, ensuring social justice, or developing character and intellect, we have truly fulfilled the gloomy destiny of post-modernism by replacing those ideals with new ideologies:  narcissism, separatism, emotivism, and cynicism.  The idolization of the self is the ultimate consequence not of modernism but of our failure to preserve its promise.  And remember, this book was published January 6, 2000.  24 years ago!  This is when many of your parents were in school!

I hope you understand what I am saying.  We worked so hard on building your self-esteem that it took time away from you mastering the subjects.  As long as you felt good about what you did, it didn’t matter what you you learned or in some cases, the grade you earned.  I am sorry.

So, what do I have to offer you to overcome the new ideologies:  narcissism, separatism, emotivism, and cynicism?

Desire the best for others.

In Dr. John C. Maxwell’s most recent book, HIGH ROAD LEADERSHIP, Chapter 12 is DESIRE THE BEST FOR OTHERS.  What a great way to overcome the new ideologies that have been so engrained in our educational system for the last forty-plus years!

Dr. Maxwell has “words and actions of high-road leaders.”  He gives the reader, “six specific ways you can align your words and actions to be of high-road leader who helps others be their best.”  After all, good humans help others be their best.  I am going to give you two-of-the-five.

Buy the book!

“I believe in you” – Encouraging words and actions.  The first and most important step toward success is the feeling that we can succeed.  Believing in others builds their lives.  It helps them see the possibility in themselves.  And when they see the possibilities, those possibilities can become realities.

“I will help you” – Serving with words and actions.  Simply put.  When you feel down, one of the best ways to feel better?  Help someone else.

Class of 2024 – We did the best we could for you.  Yet, there are several things you will need to fix / to adjust.  You can dot it.  Many of us believe in you and will help you.  You can be and do better than us.  We gave you a good start and now – go have a great finish and help others value their lives.

I love you.  God Bless!