Saturday, June 5, 2010

Commencement, Calling and Courage by Scott Welch

Here is the amazing commencement address given for the 5 young men graduating from the River Academy in 2010 by my wonderful husband. Ponder and enjoy :)

Today I want to talk about words. Language is a funny thing. The English language started somewhere between Germany and Rome. It visited the land of the Anglo-Saxons and eventually made its way to the British Isles. It has seen its battles and has its wounds and scars. And though, like real life, the evolution of language never breaks the species barrier…it does evolve. One of the things that we have seen even during our lifetimes is how words lose and change their meaning. How about couple examples…Ladies, have you ever gotten a permanent? Where is it now? Have you ever seen a jumbo shrimp?

Words change.

Being somewhat of a language buff myself. I never like to see the old, good words disappear to make way for words like: Pwned, schooled, punked, wikied, googled. So today I would like to talk about 3 very important words that have lost their meaning. Three words that I believe need to be remembered, three words that I think need to be remembered specifically by men. On that note, we have five young men graduating today. This speech was written with that in mind. So…three words.

Commencement, Calling, and Courage:

1) Commencement – In the dictionary, Graduation and Commencement are Synonyms. Strangely enough, they mean the exact opposite of one another. Graduation means to complete a course of study and to be given a diploma. But commencement means to begin something. Literally, today is the beginning of the rest of your life. You have been told where to go and what to do for the last 18 years, though with increasing freedom and responsibility over the years. But now you can choose where to go and what to do with your life. Of course, being wise young men, you get direction from your parents, and the godly people in your life, but you are in charge of your own life now.

Which leads me to my next word…

2) Calling - Here is the question that too few men are ever asked. It is this question…What is going to be the guiding principle for the rest of your life? Will it be the search for the American Dream? Lots of money, a nice car, big screen TV. Or will you use this new beginning to plan how you are going to best impact the Kingdom of God? This world needs young men like you. Young men that have been educated well, raised well by their parents, have a good head on their shoulders, who care about the needs of others.

We need you guys to be the leaders of other men. We need more men who are more concerned about their relationship with God, than they are about how cute they look in girl pants. Men who will step up, man up, and live lives that advance the Kingdom in a mighty way. My encouragement to you is this: Use this day, this day of commencement, to plan how you can be leaders in the Kingdom of God in such a way the other men follow you. Whether you become a Doctor, Director of Human Affairs, Hydro-mechanic, Electrician, Teacher, or whatever else you do, you can, like each of your fathers have, use your calling to give honor to God and be a leader.

Everyone dies, No getting around that. And on that day everyone will look back on the days of their lives and ask…did I waste it? Men, choose today to live the sort of life that you will be able to, like Paul, say to Timothy say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” And then Dan, Connor, Andrew, Troy, and Nate, then, there is laid up for you, like there was for Paul, a crown of righteousness.

So now for our last word whose meaning has been lost…Courage.

3.Courage – We live safe lives in the 21st Century. We are careful not to rock the boat. We are leery of pushing buttons. We are careful not to exhort one another or they might be offended. Men, We need to stop being safe. Being a Christian must be risky or it isn’t being a Christian. We need to be reckless with how we serve the body of Christ. Do not be fooled…A life truly lived for the glory of God will be a life of sacrifice and persecution and courage. The world needs men like you, but at the same time, the world never stands for men like you. Ask Jesus, “In this world you will have persecution, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world. Paul was beaten, stoned, left for dead, chased, and ultimately killed for Christ. In the book of Acts, Stephen preached one of the greatest sermons ever preached and was stoned to death. And Jesus stood to receive him. That is a life of courage. I don’t expect that will happen to any of you in modern America. But live in such a way that no one would be surprised if it did. Live in such a way that, like Paul, you see your life as Christ and your death is gain. And that takes courage.

I want to finish with a few words to each of you as you are sent out into the world:

Dan, how it is possible that you are 6 feet tall and still the shortest in your class, I don’t understand. But, at least you’re taller than me, that probably worth something. You always play at about 110%. I love that about you. And you know what, Dan, you might not have won all the awards and scholarships, but I tell you this…you are honestly one of the hardest working young men I have ever met. And I mean that. You’ve succeeded at times when mortal men would have accepted failure. And you have lived up to the Aumell name. And that is a great accomplishment.

Troy, I never got a chance to play you in tennis, so we can just assume that I probably would have won. The fact that people say I look like Andre Agassi might have helped me. Since I have known you, you have always been wise beyond your years, except maybe the Pokémon stage of your life. You were always the quiet one. But videos have been leaked to prove that you are not always as reserved as you seem. Your parents have raised you to be a Godly young man, and I know you make them proud.

Nathan, my expert witness and pre-trial attorney. Being the youngest in the class, you had a lot to live up to. You have grown a lot over the last couple years, spiritually and physically, and you have brought something needed to your class. Your views on church got me thinking but your views on how many analogies to put in one paper…not so much. Don’t despise your own youth, you have plenty of time to get life all figured out. And when you get life all figured out, please tell the rest of us.

Andrew, I have gotten a lot out of our time playing rugby. Especially the black eye and the busted jaw. But on top of that, you are one of the most accomplished young men I know. You always bring your A Game … in more than just rugby, but no one ever knows because you are of the most humble young me I know. You came to my son’s football game to cheer him on. He will never forget that. But more than that…you have had that impact on tons of kids at The River Academy. You are a man among men and I hope the young men left at the high school were paying attention to your example.

Connor, A lot of girls are very sad today that you are graduating. Of course I am talking about the 3rd grade girls at the River Academy. Your sense of humor has made this last year such a hoot. You are a leader and everyone knows it. You care about other people and make a point of making sure everyone is included. The first Walsh to graduate. I am sure your mom is out in the crowd crying right now. But they are happy tears. Cause she and your father have raised you well.

Class of 2010, Men. You boys are a breath of fresh air. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you guys. Congratulations.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

GRRRRRREAT Speech! I was brought to tears reading it....I can only imagine how it must of been live. Thanks Jen for sharing!