Milestone moments . . . I recently attended my daughter’s graduation from Central Memorial High School.  This message from the Principal, Gord Baldwin resonated with many of the values of NewScoop, so I invited Gord to share it with our readers. 

I want to talk to you today about three matters and in so doing, I want to issue you a challenge today, no big deal only, that I want you, Class of 2018 to make the world a better place. But fear not! I have a plan: What are these three things you ask? Thank you for asking! Simple—sort of!?

Number ONE: Express Gratitude.

I ask that you all at some point in the very near future, feel free to start now in fact, take stock of all you have:  maybe where you live, the relationships with various people in your life, perhaps being healthy, or the opportunities you have.

Then, take time sometime soon to express your appreciation to those you feel are responsible for some of these wonderful things in your life; parents or grand-parents for example, possibly a teacher even, maybe a girlfriend or boyfriend.  Find time for some quiet contemplation where you think about your lives in comparison with many, many others in countries around the world.  For, when you consider the desperate straits vast numbers of people are in, most of us here in Calgary, Alberta have it pretty sweet.

Try to make Gratitude a habit….try to find an appreciation of what you have on a regular basis and never stop expressing it to the significant people in your life.
Okay…that’s the first element of the plan….

Here’s the second: Express Generosity!

This is a vital concept for the world. Many of you are already involved now in being generous and I’m not just talking about giving money or raising money for worthy projects. That’s important too, but giving of your time and abilities is just as worthwhile, even more so in some ways.  Consider volunteering in some way; coach a Timbits team, tutor a younger student or recent immigrant perhaps who is struggling to learn English, perform music at a seniors lodge or go play cards with an elder person living there, shovel snow or offer to help out with yard work.

Simple, gratifying, meaningful ways to improve the world by improving the lives of others.  Here’s another one or two, consider authorizing organ donation through your drivers licence and tell family members of your wishes if you do.

And donate blood your class is 300 strong. Now, they say each donation saves up to three lives….so…. If only half of you start this year to donate blood regularly and continue that for years ahead…and say end up making 100 donations over the course of your lives—easily done by the way, I started when I WAS 17 and I’m closing in on that now…. ….175 X 100 X 3 = more than 52,000 lives.

So, Generosity – using your time, talents and maybe even your body to enrich and improve the lives of others

Here’s the last one: Compassion for others.

I saved the most difficult one for last: Our world so DESPERATELY needs this one. It’s not always easy to be patient and caring and thoughtful of others – But…what a HUGE difference it does make when you pull it off.

Think for a second about how good it feels to be forgiven when you’ve made a bad mistake – you can do that!.  You can give that feeling to others, regularly.  Simple, but very hard sometimes, depending on the mistake.

Offer a helping hand to a fellow human being in need, show kindness to complete strangers more often, be a better listener to friends and family, smile at a homeless person, look them in the eye and say good morning or hello, remind them they are fellow human beings and that they are cared about.

When someone is being difficult to get along with—stop and imagine what they might be dealing with in their lives and the huge stress they may be under as a result that is likely the cause of the behaviour you’re seeing.

If someone cuts you off in traffic, imagine that they may be hurrying home to deal with a crisis and are distracted as a result.  It’s not personal, don’t be angry with them, have compassion.  That can be difficult for sure, but practice this one too . and you’ll get better and better at it  and reduce your own stress load as a result.

That’s it. Three simple things: Gratitude, Generosity….Compassion for others and collectively, look around now, there are about 300 of you that could deliver literally thousands of acts to improve the world around you…year ….after year….after year…very powerful indeed.

Okay Class of 2018 That’s my challenge to you. Go improve the world.  If any group of students is up for that….my money is on you my young friends.

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