Friday, May 31, 2013
Recently, lawyer and Newark Mayor Cory Booker addressed the graduating class at Yale. Here is an excerpt:
I promise you, you will have mornings where you wake up and feel this weight of shame weighing you down in your bed so you don’t want to get up,” Booker said. “I tell you, you will have days like this, where [you will feel] fear, or pain, or sorrow, or even the stinking malaise of depression — where you can’t even find your enthusiasms. And I’ve come to realize that in life, real courage is not giving a speech or running into a burning building … Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final — that voice that says to you: ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit. I will not give up no matter how dark the days, no matter how big my failure. I won’t lose lessons that I could gather while on my knees. I won’t lose the lessons I can find in my lowest pits of despair, because when I emerge, it’s those lessons that will define my being.
As you put your sights on your goals — no matter how great and compelling they are — as you look into the distance, don’t forget what is right in front of you today. No matter how great your dreams, no matter how great your destiny, the biggest thing you can do in any day is a small act of kindness.
Booker told the seniors that often those small acts are “the least glamorous things,” such as helping a child improve his or her reading, or helping someone fill out an application for food stamps.
“Be love, be kindness, be justice,” urged Booker. “Don’t let it be something you seek; let it be something you embody.”
The full account of his speech is here.