I still believe that all students are good (maybe bad teachers, yes). They turn out well despite us. Here is one who turned out even better. I point to her only because from among my former students, she has been probably the most in the public eye (entertainment and politics -- did I just repeat myself?). The others are doing pretty well in their own "hidden" lives.
Here is an excerpt of a speech she gave recently:
I do not claim to be an authority in the subject called Life or Success or Excellence, but I am doing pretty well on something called Happiness and Contentment, so at best, kindly please allow me to just speak from the heart.
Among the things I can share with you is that although academic excellence is as admirable as it is desirable, it does not always guarantee success. So please, never rest on your laurels. Push yourselves constantly. Life itself is a constant process of learning and the world is one big classroom. Only time will make you understand the wisdom of keeping an open mind as we constantly learn new things, and re-learn the things that we thought we already knew.
What I like is that she never fails to mention the Divine and impart the power of prayer, with palpable sincerity:
In closing, I would like to express prayers and wishes. I wish that you never fall into the trap of wasting time doing nothing, just waiting for life to find you. I say find it, grab it by the horns and dance with it. It is beautiful, always, even when it is sometimes sad. Cherish life for the gift that it is. Never be crazy enough to believe wealth is all about money. The fact that you are young is reason enough for you to consider yourselves extremely wealthy. You have the energy to propel your dreams forward, youth on your side. Take advantage of it. Speaking of that — dreams, I mean — never apologize for how big or great they may be. Do not laugh at someone else’s dreams, in the same way that you should not hunch your shoulders in defeat when others laugh at yours. Be inspired by them. No one ever said dreaming is a crime. With arms outstretched and your chin tilted up towards the sunlight, expect good things to happen to your life. Happiness comes in knowing that you need not always be the greatest, or the best. Being happy while trying to do your greatest, your best, even if others do not acknowledge it, is good enough. Remember that the journey matters as much as the destination.
I pray that after you graduate, you never get stuck in a job that, although it pays extremely well, you are unhappy about. I pray you will stay far away from anyone who makes you believe you will never be good enough. Life will throw some hard curve balls but everything is a matter of perspective and you can always choose to roll with the punches. There is no handbook to success and happiness, no hard and fast rules, but it is never lame to go back to what we learned at home from our parents. Sow the right seeds, do what feels right for the heart, and when in doubt follow your gut and do what it is that gives you the most peace. I said this earlier and I will say it again now — never underestimate the power of prayer. Be bullish in that; know that there is absolutely nothing you cannot pray for. For as long as you see God’s hand in all that happens in your life, for as long as you feel His fingers on your shoulders, all should be okay, even if it seems strange, different and new. Even if it is strange, different and new. Your job, always, is to be faithful and committed to the task at hand, whatever that is. And for as long as you believe in something bigger and greater than yourself, hope will always spring eternal.