The following post was originally delivered as a message to conclude our virtual graduation ceremony on June 7, 2020.
To conclude this graduation ceremony I was asked to deliver a “charge” to the class of 2020. I don’t know that I see this as a charge so much as a reminder of what our graduates already value from their experiences at CFS. But it can’t hurt to repeat it one last time.
Two simple words that, if applied, can guide you in so many ways.
Seek truth inside of you. Remember that when you quiet the noise — internally and externally — you can uncover what truly matters. You know that with careful discernment and deep self-reflection you will find truth inside. Then let that truth guide your steps. Don’t forget to examine your dark corners so you can identify and shine a light on your blindspots.
Seek truth in and about others. Engage in real conversations with people with the goal of getting to know and understand their talents, beliefs, and experiences. Look beyond the superficial and the superfluous. Reject stereotypes and snap judgements. Remember we each hold a piece of the truth. Only in discovering that can we construct a full and deep understanding of ourselves, humanity, and the ways in which we can help each other to construct purpose-filled lives.
Seek truth in the building of community. You have experienced the nurturing and supportive impact of the Carolina Friends School community. You know what it feels like to be accepted and appreciated for who you are. You know the joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, and connectedness that comes from being in a space where you can see, experience, and delight in the unique talents of others. Find ways to create supportive relationships and strong communities wherever you are. Make sure you include a broad range of perspectives to see truth. Look beyond your normal boundaries to build your community.
Seek the truth of what our society should be and press to make it so. Promote peaceful conflict resolution, demonstrate love and mutual respect, seek fairness, behave with integrity, and hold yourself, each other, and our leaders accountable so that we can protect and fortify the social contract we need to function as a free and just society. Be an antiracist and an antimisogynist, and an antihomophobe. Engage on important issues. Speak in solidarity with those whose calls for compassion, justice, and love others want to silence. Vote. Understand your power — being young is not an impediment or an obstacle. It means you are seeing things with fresher eyes, greater optimism and potential, and more energy. Remember you are building on a strong foundation of activism you started at Carolina Friends School. Continue to build on that. Use your power to discern, elevate, and amplify truth.
So graduates, my simple reminder is to Seek Truth. Be teachers and leaders and experts and trainers and practitioners of truth-seeking. The world requires people like you doing this work to move us closer to the beloved community we so desperately need.