Inspiration / Spring / Teachers

Words of Advice for Graduates + The Starfish Poem

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Update >> Since graduation season is once again upon us, we have decided to republish this post since it seems as relevant thirteen years later as the day we wrote it. In those thirteen years, Daniel has gone on to forge a distinguished career in education. And, in my ever so humble opinion, he truly is heeding his commencement speaker's advice and both doing something that matters & helping to save the world. And while I am at it, I want to congratulate two of my nieces who are graduating this spring, Katie and Sami. Two more graduates who I am certain will make their mark in the world!

Words of advice for graduates + the starfish poem

Featured Image >> life is too short not to do something that matters gaping void art print

My son, along with his peers from across the country, graduated from college this year. (2010) Our family had the honor of listening to Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy in the Obama administration, deliver the Washington University of St Louis commencement address. Chu, in his own uniquely charming and witty way, told the graduates his “take home message to you will be just one sentence. Actually, it will be just four words.”

Do something that matters.”

and then Chu added

Help save the world.

What does this have to do with party planning. Absolutely nothing, Except maybe this post will help you find the right words of advice to pass on to future graduates either in person or in a card. The best party is not only beautiful and festive, it is also meaningful. Although not often considered, it is in fact the responsibility of each guest to add meaning to the celebration — sometimes all it takes is a few well chosen words.

So leave your cynicism at home — remember “a cynic can chill and dishearten with a single word.” (Ralph Walso Emerson) We must allow this new set of graduates to have their hand at making a difference. They will choose for themselves what matters.

Finally, a quick thank you to my son, Daniel, and to my good friend, Katy, for inspiring this post and for introducing me to the The Starfish Poem! Feel free to print this out, frame it and gift it to your favorite graduates.

The Starfish Poem

Once upon a time there was a wise man

who used to go to the ocean

to do his writing.

He had a habit of walking

on the beach

before he began his work.

One day he was walking along

the shore.

As he looked down the beach,

he saw a human

figure moving like a dancer.

He smiled to himself to think

of someone who would

dance to the day.

So he began to walk faster

to catch up.

As he got closer, he saw

that it was a young man

and the young man wasn't dancing,

but instead he was reaching

down to the shore,

picking up something

and very gently throwing it

into the ocean.

As he got closer he called out,

“Good morning! What are you doing?”

The young man paused,

looked up and replied,

“Throwing starfish in the ocean.”

“I guess I should have asked,

why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”

“The sun is up and the tide is going out.

And if I don't throw them in they'll die.”

“But, young man, don't you realize that

there are miles and miles of beach

and starfish all along it.

You can't possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely.

Then bent down, picked up another starfish

and threw it into the sea,

past the breaking waves and said-

“It made a difference for that one.”

Based on “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley

Alternatively, take advantage of the efforts of others. We tried formatting this ourselves, and truthfully, failed miserable. Next time we are definitely spending the $5-$10 for an instant download!

The Starfish Poem - Instant Downloads
The Starfish Poem – Instant Downloads

Party Hearty!

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