Hello Friday 5/12/2023 Recycled Graduation Speech #fridayfavorites

Hello Friday! My #FridayFavorites topic today is a graduation speech from several years ago.

My second oldest granddaughter graduates high school tomorrow as co-valedictorian. We put the finishing touches on her speech today. Helping her with her speech reminded me of a graduation speech I wrote and delivered many years ago. Every few years, I bring it back out and republish it as a blog post.

It seems appropriate to share this speech today in honor of her graduation.


A favorite short story of mine, The Emperor’s Three Questions, was written by the Russian author, Count Leo Tolstoy of War and Peace fame, and it was published in 1903. His short story has been retold in a children’s version by Jon J. Muth under the title The Three Questions. The story is about identifying what in life is truly important, which is what I want to talk about.
Everyday we’re all faced with making decisions about one thing or another, and it is often difficult to decide what to do, let alone determine the best thing to do. Each day is filled with tiny milestones and some days, such as a graduation, represent more significant events in our lives.
Along with graduation other memorable points in your lives are:
  • your first birthday
  • your first day of kindergarten
  • your last day of kindergarten
  • learning to read
  • your first car
  • your first love
  • your first heartbreak

and so on.

You’ve now arrived at your high school graduation ceremony, and you will embark upon countless adventures and experiences from this moment on. You’re also going to face worries and grapple with questions that have no definite answers.

What’s going to happen to me now?
Did I make the right decision to go to college?
Did I make the right decision to go to a technical school?
Should I take some time to get a job and figure out what I want to do?

As you grow older, the questions will still be there, and you’ll still be looking for answers.

Did I make the right career choice?
Did I marry the right person?
Should I get married?
Should I change jobs?
Should I change careers?
Am I ready to raise children?
Should I?
Why did I?
Why didn’t I?

These are all important questions infused with emotion and influenced by circumstance.Now, back to the The Three Questions…

Tolstoy wrote that there are ultimately only three important questions, because everything else is inconsequential in the larger scheme of life.

The first question is:
When is the best time to do things?

The second question is:
Who is the most important one?

And the third question is:
What is the right thing to do?

When is the best time to do things? How can we really know? It’s important to plan and consider all the options and to weigh the pros and cons. There’s just not a simple answer.

Who is the most important one? That’s an easy one…on the surface. The important ones are the people you care about. They are your friends and family. While I agree that’s true, the question is, who is the most important ONE? That’s more complicated. You may argue that it’s impossible to choose just one important person in your life. It is a dilemma.

What is the right thing to do? This question elicits even more questions. Is this a moral question? An ethical question? A spiritual question? Maybe it’s legal question? Perhaps it’s even a financial question.

How can anyone possibly resolve this conundrum in light of so many influencing factors to consider?

It’s just one puzzling question creating another.

So, how did Tolstoy solve the riddle of his three questions? While it is ultimately up to each of you individually to find your own personal answers to life’s mysteries, Tolstoy’s answers are quite straight-forward.

He said…

Remember then that there is only one important time, and that time is now. The most important one is always the one you are with. And the most important thing is to do good for the one who is standing at your side for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future. For these are the answers to what is most important in this world.

To the Class of 2023, I wish each of you the very best that life has to offer as you search for your own answers to life’s three questions.

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
Lasterday Stories
writing through history one romance upon a time

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