Thursday, June 15, 2023

#166 / 2 Things (Some Good Advice For Graduates)


That is Margaret Renkl, New York Times columnist, pictured above. As I found out from the Wikipedia entry I have linked, Renkl was born in 1961, the year I graduated from Palo Alto High School. Well, "graduation day" activities are just about to take place at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I teach classes in the Legal Studies Program, so I thought it was appropriate to highlight an excerpt from a graduation speech that Renkl published in The New York Times. Here is the title of her column: "Remembering 2 Things [To] Prepare You For Every Challenge Ahead."

That is the (slightly amended) "hard copy" version of the title on her column. Online, should you be able to penetrate the paywall erected by The Times, to protect its intellectual property, the title to Renkl's column is decidedly more "downbeat." In the online version, Renkl's speech to graduates of The University of the South (popularly known as "Sewanee") was titled as follows: "Graduates, My Generation Wrecked So Much That’s Precious. How Can I Offer You Advice?"
Sewanee is a "religious" school, which somewhat explains Renkl's advice to the graduates, who are, presumably, more prepared than the average person to believe the truth of what the Bible tells us, right off the bat, in the Book of Genesis, 1:31: "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
Renkl doesn't cite to God or the Bible to validate her advice to the 2023 graduates she addressed at The University of the South. While I happen to think that the Bible (in both the New and the Old Testaments) provides us with some very important truths, and that what the Bible says can help us navigate these lives with which we have, so unexpectedly, been gifted, I would agree with Renkl that you don't need to look to any further than your own experience to validate the truth of what she tells those graduates. She does have two observations, as she outlines here: 

Merely by falling in love with the world, you will begin to make it better. Human beings will work to their dying breath to save something they love. Fall in love with the wild world, and you are taking the first step toward saving it:
 The world is beautiful. People are good.
Remembering that will help you remember how good you are, and how much good you can do, too.
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