Saturday, June 22, 2019

One of my favorite speeches

Following up on my post about former Milk Mustache Contest winners, I'm gonna treat y'all to a little more nostalgia.

Delivering a speech at an agricultural
conference in Kansas, 2010.
I've had the opportunity to give quite a few speeches over the years. The first I remember was in my sixth-grade English class, and by the time my high school days were over I would go on to represent my school in the Public Speaking Contest at the Alabama Beta Club Convention and deliver the valedictory address at my class's graduation ceremony. My college speeches ranged from the ridiculous (a tongue-in-cheek defense of professional wrestling) to the sublime (on the importance of self-sacrifice), and I've given more speeches at agricultural meetings and conferences in the past 15+ years than I can even begin to remember.

Thirteen years after speaking at my own graduation, I was invited to deliver the commencement address to Lamar County High School's Class of 2010. Getting up and speaking in front of agricultural acquaintances and total strangers was old hat by then, but the idea of speaking with the eyes of my hometown upon me really made me nervous. That's what also made it special. And for a little over eleven minutes that May evening I tried to impart some useful, practical advice to the forty-some-odd graduates seated before me in a way that would make my former teachers and fellow citizens proud.

The address I gave that evening is certainly not going to show up when you search for "Best Commencement Speeches" on Google. Heck, it's not even the best speech I've ever written or delivered. But the occasion made it one of my favorites, and there are a few truths sprinkled in there that I still need to remind myself of from time to time. Hopefully you will find a few pearls of wisdom you can use, too, if you choose to give it a listen. 

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