Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Some advice to the youth

On Sunday, I attended a youth fireside with my teenage daughter. The speaker shared some great advice to the youth that I wanted to post. One of the things he shared was an excerpt from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts' commencement address at his son’s ninth-grade graduation in 2017.  Judge Roberts gave some advice that ran counter to many typical commencement speeches. Here is an excerpt from the speech that was repeated to the youth on Sunday:


"Now the commencement speakers will typically wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why. From time to time in the years to come:
  • I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. 
  • I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. 
  • I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. 
  • I wish you bad luck from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either. 
  • And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. 
  • I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, 
  • and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion. 
Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes."


Typically, as parents and youth leaders we want the best for our youth. We want them to succeed. I thought this address was so interesting to wish for the kids to be treated unfairly, to be lonely, to have bad luck, to lose, to be ignored, and suffer pain.. all for their growth. Because Chief Justice Roberts is right, all of these things WILL happen in a person's life, but only the wise will learn and grow from the experiences.

Yesterday ended a month-long fast that was organized by some amazing youth. One of the organizers asked me to post this thank you to those who joined them in their invitation at the beginning of the year. While his dad called me personally to see if I would post this, it was the young man's personal email to me that I couldn't turn down. This is for you Lucas.