It’s that time of year when schools of all levels put their paperwork in order, produce large numbers of high quality pieces of paper (PETA hates it when we say this, but they’re called sheepskins) and hands them to those who have endured to the end. This is otherwise referred to as graduation.
It used to be that graduation speeches were a pretty stock business. The school knew it. The valedictorians and salutatorians knew it. And everyone went along with the program. Most still do.
But now we have school districts which take no chances. They insist in reviewing these speeches and, if the speaker dares to vary from it, can get the microphone cut off. Christians normally (and justifiably) associate this practice with referrering to God in their speech (which makes the New Atheists pass out, truly disruptive during graduation.) But there are other ways of getting in trouble, as this Florida valedictorian found out the hard way.
So what to do if you have an original thought and want to say it at the important moment? It’s not hard these days:
- Put it together, either write it up or do it in video.
- Post it to your favourite online perch (blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc.) Longer videos will require something like Vimeo, but most people won’t want to watch it. Unless you’re very pithy, Twitter is probably too short. With a blog like this, you can even time the post so no one sees it until you’re ready for them to.
- When the time comes, get up and simply announce that, due to content restrictions, the speech you wanted to give isn’t possible and that they can find it on _________ (fill in the blank.) Then sit down. In addition to getting around the content restrictions, everyone in the house will be punching on their iPhones, Droids or Blackberries to see what’s up, which will be more disruptive than the New Atheists passing out at your reference to God.
I know, it will “spoil the moment.” But here’s a message from someone who put his school’s tush in a wad by not going to the Ivy League and waited until his last semester in college to take emigration off of the agenda: it doesn’t matter. On our journey in life to an eternal destination, whether you meet everyone’s expectations in one speech isn’t a big deal.
Like the Hebrew National commercials used to say, you have a higher authority to answer to…
And you can have fun doing it.