Your student is graduating! Congratulations!
Whether this graduation is from high school or college, it can be a bittersweet time for you as a parent. You’re proud and excited! But you also see your child growing up and taking an important next step in their life.
It can be an uncertain and nervous time for everyone.
Perhaps there will be a party. Probably there are gifts. Maybe a card or a letter. It feels as though this is one last opportunity to impart some wisdom – some life advice – to your student.
Really, you will continue to have opportunities to share your advice – some of it welcome and some perhaps less welcome – throughout your student’s life. But this is a moment. You want to get this one right.
We’ve suggested that one option might be to write your own commencement speech. What words would you like your student to hear? What would you tell them if you had the opportunity (challenge?) of writing the speech they would hear as they proudly sit in that cap and gown.
The wisdom you share with your student needs to be yours, of course, from your heart directly to the child you know so well. But it’s sometimes nice to have a little help getting started.
We’d like to share 32 quotes to give you some inspiration. You will find some that speak what is in your heart and others that don’t resonate. Use these to search for the message you’d like your student to hear. Borrow the quote, or find your own words.
Congratulations! You’re on to the next phase of your parenting journey!
“Dream big. Work hard. Think for yourself. Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might. And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer.” —David McCullough Jr.
“Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.” – Henry Ford
“Dare to dream, but be not an idle dreamer. Dare to do what you dream.” – Samuel Silas Curry
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” – Fred DeVito
“If you want to be the best, you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do.” – Michael Phelps
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – Wayne Gretsky
“Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.” – Minor Myers, Jr.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” – Thomas Jefferson
“When we show up, act boldly, and practice the best ways to be wrong, we fail forward. No matter where we end up, we’ve grown from where we began.” – Stacey Abrams
“Decide to ground yourself in values that last, like honesty, hard work, responsibility, fairness, generosity, respect for others.” – Barak Obama
“They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true. I think that’s crap. I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.” – Shonda Rhimes
“Follow your fear.” – Tina Fey
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” – Judy Garland
“If you can walk away for days, weeks, or years at a time, it is not an ambition, it’s a wish. Wishes feel good and rarely come true. Ambition, on the other, fuels your day and refuses to be ignored. It challenges your sense of self and fulfills your sense of wonder.” – Stacey Abrams
“You can’t do it alone. Be open to collaboration. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.” – Amy Poehler
“Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them”. —H Jackson Brown Jr.
”There are no regrets in life. Just lessons.” – Jennifer Anniston
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” – e. e. cummings
“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” – Mark Twain
“When you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know it when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” — Rosalynn Smith Carter
“The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown
“You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the numbers of times you get back up.” – Aaron Sorkin