I found an article in a magazine entitled "Pomp and Circumstance." The author described the high school graduation of a small high school in an Alaskan town, where the graduation is a town event.. Rather than giving the typical "go forward with confidence" speech, the valedictorian spoke about her classmates.
"Abby's talk lasted less than 10 minutes. All she did was say one sentence about the best qualities of each student, but that was plenty. As soon as the audience realized she wasn't only singling out the class stars, you could see each graduate anticipate his or her turn, then sit up and bask in the glow from Abby's praise. The dads of those students nodded proudly or held up a camera while the moms reached for a tissue.
"Even the 'problem kids" received a good word. Of a boy who barely earned his diploma, she noted that he could always fix your car. (His dad pumped a fist and hollered "right on.") About a girl who had some issues with attendance--she skipped school a lot--Abby said she always made her classmates laugh when they were down. Her mother and aunts cheered."
I wonder if Abby knew what she had done, how her words of praise and appreciation affected the graduates, their families, the whole town.
Joy for today: lessons from a wise and lovely girl.