COLLEGE PARK, Md.
On June 2nd, at 9:00am, Board of Education Member K. Alexander Wallace, District 7, will deliver remarks on behalf of the Board of Education of Prince George's County to the 2017 graduates of Suitland High School and gathered audience on the campus of the University of Maryland, College Park.
Below are the prepared remarks for the commencement ceremony.
In life, there is a handful of, what many call, unwanted guarantees: taxes, death, heartbreak, and pain – all negatives.
Nothing good in life is given to you; it’s earned, fought for, purchased, or taken.
Sometimes a person must change themselves…humble themselves...in order to prosper and receive the good things out of life.
I can think of no better example of this than the story of how a lobster grows.
A lobster, by itself, is a very soft, mushy animal and is confined by a very hard shell that does not expand, causing immense pain when the lobster begins to outgrow that shell.
So how does a lobster continue to grow when its shell won’t expand?
It goes under a rock, removes its soft, mushy body, and starts to grow a larger, wider, brighter shell.
It repeats this several times until its death.
However, in order for it to grow, the lobster had to go through immense pain, retreat from its environment and expose itself to predators, and then it began to grow to become something with a harder and stronger exterior.
The catalyst for change and growth for the lobster was immense pain....or adversity.
You see, too many of us in our community run away or cower away from pain and adversity. Either that or we have had other people cower or run away – leaving us to fend for ourselves.
The lobster also retreated from its natural environment and was humble enough to remove its protective layer, exposing its weaknesses, in order to grow stronger.
How many of us are that humble?
Humble enough to admit that we are hurting – physically, mentally, emotionally, or even financially.
Humble enough to remove ourselves from our environments of comfort.
Humble enough to expose ourselves to predators who may want nothing more than to see us always fail and look weak.
In order for us to become better in life, adversity and humility are nothing less than requirements for success and change to enter our lives.
Change is inevitable and must be perceived as something positive instead of an interruption to our comfortability.
Welcome adversity and change.
Be humble and embrace your flaws.
Stop trying to grow on other people’s time and take as much time as you need to grow into someone stronger, brighter and better than who you were before.
And finally, be prepared to repeat these steps because, just like that lobster, we too, both individually and collectively, must continue growing until our last day.
I know that, for today, we are all Suitland Rams and many of these graduates will go off to college and become terps, tigers, eagles, lions, bulldogs, bison, aggies, and knights.
But never forget the story of how a lobster grows.
Never forget the perfect formula for prosperity and growth:
Adversity, humility, and change.