I’d like to start by telling you some of the things about you that give me the most pleasure. I appreciate the true passion you show for life in general, and, specifically, for the things that you enjoy—a book you’ve just read, a game you’ve discovered, a dance you’ve just learned, a friendship you value, a piece of music you play—the way that you put all of yourself into whatever it is that truly moves you.  I enjoy watching you dance; watching you act; the love and humor you bring to everything you do; the way you connect with your sister; and the compassion and caring you show for your grandmother—I enjoy the things you do and accomplish in this way because they are a pure expression of a part of who you are. I hope you will continue to follow your passions, and always stay in touch with that place deep inside of you, that tells you what’s right for you, and trust it.

One of my favorite quotes from e.e.cummings is, “To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else, means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” You make me proudest when you are most who you are...

For me, today has the quality of your being on the threshold of your becoming an independent person…a symbolic sending you out into the world.  So it feels like a kind of last chance to tell you the things I want for you… the things I want you most to know and remember...the things that are really important.

Not that this will necessarily stop me from telling you things, after today…  But, some of these things, I think you now know for yourself, so you may not hear them as often from me.

This celebration marks the time for you to truly begin taking responsibility for who you are, and what you do.  A child looks to blame others…an adult takes responsibility for his actions.

I want you to know what you don’t know…and know that it’s okay to admit it.

I want you to remember that beliefs have energy, and that we create our own reality through our beliefs about ourselves and the world.

I want you to remember that the richest person is the one has the most love…

And that I love you to infinity and beyond…

And in the end, it’s the mushy stuff that counts.

Having you in my life has focused me on what’s really important in a way that nothing else could.  And so, truly, it is you who have been my teacher.  My lesson now, is to learn to trust you to look to that place inside of you to know, and to be, who you are.