I'd like to revive the American dream. Why? I believe it is what every high school graduate should have and deserves. It used to be what everyone worked for. Today it's not mentioned and not available because we educate our children so poorly.
The American dream was like this. After graduation I bounded off to college with my high school diploma and three personal character references Ė (The only requirement to get into college back then.) I worked my way through college, got my degree, got a teaching job, bought a new car and have been in the driver's seat ever since.
Todayís graduates are told that itís their duty to go out and make changes. This is the opposite of what I was told and itís against my belief. I believe that we should prepare graduates to take their place in life besides the adults working with them Ė not fighting against them.
It seems weíve lost sight of our purpose. Some of us even struggle with who we are and what we are or what weíre supposed to do in life. This is fatal because without a vision the people perish.
These struggles did not exist or at least were at a minimum in my day. This was because the American dream was ever before us. It defined us and set our course in life.
The American dream kept hope alive in everyone because all ages worked toward making this dream a reality for their youth.
Today no one speaks of the American dream and Iíve wondered why? On the 4th of July this year the Seattle Asian Weekly asked immigrants what the American dream meant to them. I was surprised to see that they described it as I was taught.
The secret is this. The American dream was made possible because God was the guiding force behind it. In other words, if you take God out of the picture, thereís no dream.
Now to retell it to those who know, this will be bittersweet to compare the American dream with whatís going on in our schools today. Yet, to redeem ourselves, I believe we must ask for the old paths and walk in them.
Let me give the Baccalaureate sermon delivered in 1961 from the preacherís viewpoint. The school officials in essence said the same at graduation.
Baccalaureate Sermon 1961
The American dream is now laid at your feet. It is yours because we have endeavored to give you all of the skills and knowledge that will be needed for you to be successful in life.
Time will tell how well we have succeeded. We are well aware that wherever we failed it will be at your expense. This is why our fervent prayer is that God will fill in whatever is lacking.
The American dream is now yours for the taking. If you deem it necessary to further your education in order to be more successful in your chosen career or profession, let me assure you that you are ready for any college course offered and that you will be able to keep up with the best of them.
Yes, the American dream is yours for the taking, but how far can you go? The wisest man that ever lived said that diligence: (that is sticking to the task and hard work) diligence would allow you to dine with kings. In the wise manís day that was the highest any could go.
How far you go will depend solely upon you. Your parents, the color of your skin, your origin or place of birth Ė These have no say in the matter. Itís up to you, or rather up to the choices you make, that will determine how far you go.
Your choices will be determined by your beliefs because as a man thinks or believes in his heart, so is he. Itís as simple as this: If you believe you can, you will. If you believe you canít, you wonít. If you believe that itís possible, you will put all of your energy into making it happen or else seek the help needed to bring it to pass.
Be careful what you think. Remember, Jesus couldnít perform his miracles in certain places because of the peopleís unbelief, but that didnít hinder Him from accomplishing his mission on earth. Thatís a lesson for us. Keep your goal in mind and donít let opposition derail you.
Let me remind you that youíve had to depend on parents, teachers and others to get you to where you are today. This dependency will continue throughout your life because no man lives to himself and no man dies to himself. Remember, Jesus depended heavily upon his Heavenly Father for his success. You must do likewise to succeed.
Finally, it is required of all of us to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. If so, the world will smile upon you and the blessings of God will multiply your success. And when life is over, He will reward you with a home in Heaven where you will spend eternity with your Heavenly Father and with all who have loved you and did their best to prepare you for this day.
Again I say that the American dream is yours. As a mother eagle, weíve prepared you for this day. And now itís time for us to let go. Our prayer is that you soar with the eagles with the sky as your limit.
Now go in peace and may God be with you always.