The Youth, Life’s Calling & The Wisdom of Old Age
Daily Prompt: Alma Mater
by michelle w. on April 7, 2013
You’ve been asked to speak at your high school alma mater — about the path of life. (Whoa.) Draft the speech.
Public speaking is not my forte and probably it is my waterloo. But if I would be asked and pleased to a speaking engagement for my high shool alma mater, I would be glad to reminisce my memories and would build the guts to face and inspire my would-be fellow alumni. And here’s my draft for a simple speech:
Right now if you may, you would be wondering what is that not fame and not popular figure, old geek is doing up there on that platform? And while you were asking yourself that question, I am also wondering why I am standing here in front of these myriad fresh bloods with promising futures and will be talking about this damn path of life ;-), when in fact I don’t lead a wonderful life.
Well, when I received a letter from this Alma Mater, which was once my very own, asking me to be the guest speaker for this commencement exercises, I felt so honored yet unworthy since I haven’t become an icon or any inspiring material at all, whom this Alma Mater can be proud of. It’s just that I own one trophy located in the principal’s office for winning 1st prize in an essay writing contest, which I believe doesn’t made sense to you all young people. But for me it made sense, and I was thinking if I can ask our dear principal to take it home with me after I gave this speech, as a token. Just if I could still find it standing there in almost 15 years now.
But as I read on the letter and I came to the part that I’ll be talking about life, I was relieved since I know life is a very broad topic. Any individual can speak about life. The rich can talk about how richer his life became and the poor can talk about how poorer or richer he became. And the bottom line of which, is that both had inspired somebody else’s life.
I was like you before when I was your age. Full of vibe and wit. Wanted to belong. Always long for fun and excitement. Carefree. Worry-free. Strong-willed. Rebellious. Wanting so much to be independent. And everything in between the stage of life we called as Teenage or whom I prefer to call the Youth of the Nation.
As a modern-day parent right now, I cannot deny the fact and I fairly believe that such teenage behaviors nowadays could sometimes be an influence of technology and media. But we, parents, are no God to end it all and hinder its breakthrough, in order to protect you young ones from its harmful effect. Yet, we are given by God the gift to deal and balance with its existence. And this gift of advancement in technology and social media is made available for us to whether make good use of it or not. It depends upon our rationalization and valuing of the gift.
God also give us another vital gift. The gift, which is the power to be rational and to make choices, the gift which we called LIFE or let me say a CALLING. Because everything that will take an event in our lives happens by chance and it’s all a matter of choice on how we are going to deal with it and answer life’s calling. We are always given the many chances, but the problem is that we are only giving a meager portion of our choices – best choices.
Now I am already a mother – a full-time mom of 3 lovely kids. It’s not that I didn’t make the best choice, for me, it’s a calling and that’s my best answer in response to that calling. It would take me an eternity to narrate to you everything that had happened in my life. But one thing I can tell you young people is that, whatever that took event in my life – good or bad, I can still say life is beautiful. I still existed and survived at the end of everyday strife. Life is full of surprises and we can’t plan whatever it is we want with our lives. We can only make choices and that choices are the makes or breaks. And for whatever outcomes, we must learn to accept it along with faith and prayer to the giver of life – God.
I know how you teenagers can become so numb when it comes to sermons, because I was there and done that. And now that I have grown a bit old, I have remorse some points of my parents’ advice which I failed to ponder on. Young people, let me tell you this: the wisdom of the elderlies are priceless and brilliant. Don’t ever miss a chance to listen to your parents, because they have known and experienced what we haven’t perceived yet. And along with that, here’s a fable that I have read and wanted to impart to you before I end this speech.
Little Roy was romping by the gate of the garden one day. He saw a kindly old man down the street. He supported himself with a cane as his back was bent. As he passed the gate, he dropped his cane.
Roy quickly picked up the stick and handed it back to the old man who smiled at him and said, “Thank you but I don’t need it anymore. I can walk very well without it. If you like you can keep it.” Without waiting for the lad’s reply, the old man walk away, seeming more erect than he was before.
The little lad with the cane in his hands, stood speechless. He did not know what to do with it. He noticed it’s an ordinary wooden stick with a curved handle and a metal tip. He thoughtlessly poked the iron tip to the ground several times. He grasped the cane’s curved handle when the whole thing turned into a black colt with a white star on it’s forehead. It began to prance around the yard, neighing and igniting sparks from the pebbles. Roy, though amazed and bewildered, rode on its silky back. The horse turned into a cane again when he set his feet on the ground.
“This is certainly a magic cane!” Roy muttered as he struck the earth again with his new possession. The stick then became a racing car, all red, with a number painted in white on the hood. The yard in its turn became a race course. It was a motorboat next, on a lake of calm green waters. Another transformation turned into a spaceship on a trail of stars. The only time the cane regained its normal appearance was when the lad’s feet touched the ground.
The afternoon quickly passed for him. Towards the evening, while he was about to go home, he noticed the old man along the way. The boy tried to see something special about him but he didn’t succeed. No matter how he looked, the old man was just like any other old person, but this time he looked tired from the walk.
“Did you like the cane?” the smiling old man questioned Roy. The lad thought the old man wanted his cane back so he offered it. The old man waved it back to him and replied, “You just keep it, keep it for yourself. You can fly with it. What do I need of a cane? I can only lean on it a little. I will support myself on the wall and it will be the same for me.” The old man went away smiling because he felt truly happy for he, an old man, had given something valuable to the young ones.
The fable has two principal characters, the young-as the innocence of childhood and an old man – as the wisdom of old age. They both represent the start and the end of life’s existence. The old man wanted to close his life in a meaningful way by being beneficial to the young ones. The youth was more attracted to the ethereal.
In reality, adult persons are in the best possession to dispense wisdom, to make charity work and to affirm hope. They can give strength and comfort to the young, because they have the capability to understand the young ones more. Through their stories, the youth learn virtue and all that is pleasing. So youth as you are, you have to listen to your elders especially your parents and never ever disregard them.
For those who still questioned what life really is? Well, all I can say is that, just have the heart to listen for life’s calling and the wisdom of old age.
The following are photos of my high school life memories. Thanks to a dear classmate who spent an effort to have this old pics scanned and uploaded.
Here is our graduation class pictorial. I’m standing in the second row from atop and the fourth girl from the right.
In this photo, you can find me in a drum and bugle corps uniform and in the other side is a close friend and classmate of mine.
In our senior year, we spent a 1 day computer tutorial in a reknown computer school way back 1998, when information technology course boomed and became trendy here in our country. In fact, I enrolled in this course but did not survive for long. The numbers and analytic killed me, I’m very poor in Mathematics. And I am that round-eyed girl next to that chinky-eyed one.
In here, is a fun moments with classmates when teachers are missing 😉 or shall I formally say on a conference. I’m that damsel on a red shirt. Probably, this photo was taken on a Wednesday, our alma mater’s wash day. Or perhaps, I’m making up my own rule since all the other girls are in uniform. 😉