Greetings. Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is an honor to speak before the National Honor Society of Westinghouse High School. Congratulations on being inducted into the National Honor Society. I want to personally thank Inna, Ms. Patterson, Principal Kieren for inviting me to speak today.
I believe with all of my heart that each and everyone one of us has a calling in life. The difference is that some answer the call but most don’t. Today, let us all recognize that just by completing your time at Westinghouse High School, your actions and accomplishments speak to this idea of answering your calling in life.
No one is better or more intelligent than the next person, the difference is based on actions and decisions that are both healthy and productive for our callings in life. I didn’t have to write this speech; I didn’t have to agree to stand before you today and speak....I did so because this is my calling in life. When I was in the 7th grade I realized the power of my voice in my families kitchen. I was 12 years old and after watching Spike Lee’s film on the life of Malcolm X or El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, I was inspired to speak with conviction from my heart. I was blown away by how my voice echoed throughout the walls of my family’s kitchen. It was powerful and I was fascinated by how little old me could speak so strongly. I stood there with the lights off, in my family’s kitchen, frozen by the sound of my voice. I knew something happened. At that moment I knew I had a voice!
My calling to speak from my heart, to share with the world my thoughts and perspectives, to perform my imaginations destiny came with so much struggle and hard work. My father use to take out his broken dreams on me and my family. But I had to learn how to fight back, not just physically but through hard work and determination in not giving up on my calling in life. When I was 16 years old, my father’s drug addiction forced me to leave my families home and stand on my own two feet in this world. I worked hard on my calling in life by simply not giving up and not expecting nothing from nobody. I received a lot of help from family, friends and the community, but all that help means nothing if I didn’t take responsibility for my calling in life. I could have used the excuse that since my father didn’t raise me right I can just develop an attitude of self defeat or self destruction. We have to be very careful with BLAME because blaming takes us away from the work we need to do to grab hold of our lives and answer our calling in life. Instead of blaming:
I poured my heart and soul into my education.
I poured out my imagination in artistic opportunities to be free.
I took risks in life that were positive like going to church to find peace of mind and God
I became the first member in my family to attend a 4-year university in America while sleeping on friends and families couches until I was able to go to college.
I share my personal experiences because I know that you are going through your own personal experiences that may be distracting you from answering your calling in life. Sometimes we can’t hear this calling because life seems to be moving so fast and the struggle seems too much to bear but let me say that even though you can’t hear your calling:
let the spirit of hard work take you to spaces of growth and positivity.
let the spirit of hard work surround you with people who motivate you and challenge you to bring out your best qualities instead of your worst fears.
let the spirit of hard work guide you throughout life so that you see education both in the classroom as well as in every opportunity that crosses your heart!
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest thinkers and inventors of the 20th century, a man who invented the scientific formula which paved the way for nuclear energy and the atomic bomb, a power which can destroy human civilization or be used to enhance our development as a human civilization, once said, “imagination is more important than knowledge!” It’s not just about being smart because too much knowledge leads to destruction. Imagination is a life skill that transfers into all career fields as well as personal and community spaces. We need imagination to change how we live in the world; we need imagination to bring compassion, care and community back into our callings in life.
If you are going to be a lawyer why not be a lawyer that has an imagination that seeks to spread justice that is fair and truly representative of all people....
If you are going to be a doctor why not be a doctor who wants to use medicine and technology to find cures for diseases and develop practices that promote healthier living for all people regardless of insurance restrictions!
If you are going to be a business person, why not be a business person who seeks to create businesses that allow people to reach their greatest potentials in life.
If you are going to be a teacher, why not be a teacher who helps students answer their callings in life instead of simply passing a test
If you are going to be anything in life we are going to need our imaginations to walk in our own stride, speak in our own authentic voices, and make decisions that benefit the greater good of our world.
The human imagination is the reason why we feel so interconnected with the world, its time that we use our imagination to answer the calling of life which is simply saying “take care of each other by taking care of this world!”
Nobody owes you nothing in life! This life is open for you to take hold of and use it for good otherwise you will be vulnerable to having your life taken away from you and used for others peoples intentions. We have to work hard for every little penny and every little step forward. The point is to work hard in everything we do regardless of our situations, struggles and distractions. Hard work will change the world into a movement of people who answer the calling of life instead of wasting away precious days and opportunities where we can say, “Hello. I am ready. I am willing to put in the work. I am not afraid of what it will take to live the life I want to live. I will be hard working and never give up on my life. I am ready and willing to work hard for my calling in life.........”
What is your calling in life?
Can you hear it?
Are you listening?
If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to answer the call.............