The following missives were shared by GFA Faculty and Staff as a departing gift to the Class of 2020. As we close two months on campus amidst a global pandemic, these wise words to live by are important now more than ever.
Clean your room. If you can't bring order to your space, how are you going to bring positive change to the world? Stand up straight; take on as much responsibility and challenge as you can bear. Embrace and learn from incomplete success and from failure. They are one of life's greatest teachers.
There’s a pretty good chance that you are a little weird. If you deny that to yourself, you’ll waste a lot of time.
To be truly successful is to cultivate integrity — unity between word and deed, values, and choices — and to do so with kindness and a keen awareness of one's potential for getting things wrong even or especially in attempting to get them right.
In the darkest time of the American Revolution, when Abigail Adams certainly knew what was at stake, she wrote to her husband John Adams in far off Philadelphia, "You cannot be, nor would I wish you to be, an inactive spectator. We have too many high-sounding words and too few actions that correspond to them."
Hopefully, you will remember Abigail’s words, and maybe someday, in some way, you will make the choice of doing something, not for yourself, but for your country and the world’s sake.
There will be times in your life when you look around and it seems like everyone else has it all figured out. Let me assure you: they do not. In those moments, remind yourself that asking good questions is far more important than having all the answers, and possessions and status do not equal happiness and fulfillment. Follow a path that brings you personal satisfaction, work hard, always do your best, and don't change your dream — change the world.
"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. For there is a force of love moving through the Universe that holds us fast and will never let us go." — Julian of Norwich, the 14th-century mystic
I share this in hopes that as you meet challenges moving forward in your lives, you simply remember that there is a Force of Love in the Universe that we can all count on to keep us fundamentally safe.
My Italian-Brazilian grandfather, who was a hard-working carpenter and father of seven, used to say: “Se o problema tem solução, não é problema. Se o problema não tem solução, não se faz de problemas.” Loosely translated: If a problem has a solution, it’s not a problem. If a problem doesn’t have a solution, there is no problem (or as I apply his wisdom, there is always chocolate).
“There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness is the true method” — Herman Melville, Moby-Dick. Take care and make plans, by all means, but never forget that “the universe is wider than our views of it” (Thoreau), and that the best the world has to offer is better than what we can imagine — be open, keep your eyes peeled, and be ready to celebrate the daily miracle that is unfolding before you.
Remember that no task is beneath you, especially when you find ways to lift others up in the process.
Remember that it’s about not what happens to us, but how we choose to respond to what happens to us. Respond courageously. Have the courage to do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing. Have the courage to be authentic, even when that may feel scary. Build and maintain relationships — with friends and family — those connections will sustain you. Remain curious. And be kind.