Have you guys read anything by John Green? He’s penned The Fault in Our Stars (which I highly recommend), Paper Towns (which I recently read during our Mexican vacay), and a handful of other novels and short stories which I definitely need to look into.
Anyway, this John fellow seems like a really awesome guy. Not only is he able to write effectively for a young adult audience (which I think is, by far, the trickiest to master and most impressive type of writing), he also seems genuinely kind — someone who respects others and believes in encouraging others to be their true selves.
A great example of that encouragement exists in John’s recent commencement address to the graduates of Butler University. Now, bear with me. Yes, this is a commencement address, and we typically don’t like to sit through our own — much less the addresses for other schools. And yes, this clip is nearly 20 minutes long — an eternity in internet video time.
But please watch it. And really listen to it. I really think you’ll feel better for having done so. I, for one, wish I’d had a John to give my commencement address six years ago. What a strange time of life college graduation is, after all. So much has built up to that moment, and yet at the same time there’s not been nearly enough preparation for what’s to come.
John touches on points that Kevin and I have discussed urgently and often. Things like the lie about “the real world” being so very different from life up until “the real world” supposedly begins. Things like the fact that our culture may very well have defined “success” in a very incorrect — and a tragically we’ve-missed-the-point — way. Things like the importance of striving to view all people as complete, multi-dimensional humans just like us — even (and especially) if they’re NOT like us.
So take nearly 20 minutes and soak in his wisdom. Whether you finished college two weeks ago, six years ago, or 20 years ago, I think you’ll glean something positive from it:
Thanks, John, for sharing this message. It’s wonderful to know that someone like you is out there cheering humanity on.