Meadville Tribune

Opinion

July 2, 2013

At society’s ‘tipping point,’ your actions decide our future

Editor’s note: Meadville educator Jan Hyatt asked that we share this speech with our readers. It was authored and delivered by Crawford Central School Board member and former Meadville Area Senior High School teacher Richard Curry at this year’s Meadville Area Senior High School graduation ceremony.

And now, since this will be the last opportunity that I have to address a Meadville high school graduating class, I have a few words.

I’m sure all of you have heard the term “the tipping point.” It is a term that attempts to define our changing physical environment, particularly earth’s warming. And it seems to be apt. We are losing our glaciers and ice caps at an alarming rate. However, I want to use the term to indicate something else, to indicate the social changes that are occurring in our world.

There was a time when politicians were ethical and honorable — we see that rarely these days. In your grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ times, people were courteous and kind and neighborhoods were safe. Now, we must teach our children to beware of strangers. We are not surprised when we hear of killings or of meth labs in our neighborhoods. We are at the tipping point of societal decay.

In the next several years, I urge you to be conscious of this: You are in the process of creating whom you will be for the rest of your life. You are in the process of creating a persona — your persona, and that person that you create will govern you. Those of you who are going to college, those going into the military and you who are going into the work-a-day world, you will be creating a self that will be you for the rest of your days.

How do you want to be judged in later years?

Do you want people to see you as honorable? Then you must display honor. Do you want people to see you as ethical? Then you must have good values. Do you want people to see you as honest? Then you must display honesty. Do you want people to see you as moral? Then you must demonstrate good morality. As you create this persona, this self, remember that it is created by your actions and by your choices.

I said that we are at a tipping point. Create a self that helps us, society, tip the other way, to tip to something more solid than the way we are presently moving; to tip away from guns and drive-by shootings, away from meth labs and drug pushers, away from military sex scandals, away from child abuse, away from political dishonor.

You are no longer children. I’m sorry to break that to you. You are now decision makers and this is your world. In a few years you will be in a position to help control this world. As you create your persona over the next several years, create a person who can restore honor to your world.

Think of all that you have accomplished over the past 13 years that has brought you to this graduation. What an accomplishment! Think of how you have changed since kindergarten and what great things you have learned during that time. With such greatness behind you, I have faith that you can continue building on that greatness and help to tip us back to secure neighborhoods, to a secure state and to a secure nation.

Go forth and do that. I have faith in your greatness.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • It’s hard to believe park will turn things around until secrecy ends

    Even if a deal is struck to save Conneaut Lake Park from a pending sale to pay off back taxes, it appears unlikely that the park will succeed unless its new managers pledge themselves to transparency and public accountability.

    April 22, 2014 1 Story

  • Public pensions for private lobbyists under fire

    Employees of the Pennsylvania School Board Association don’t work for any of the state’s 500 local school districts — not directly, anyway. They lobby lawmakers on behalf of those districts for things like funding.

    April 20, 2014

  • Many veterans suffer PTSD, which needs to be dealt with

    Initially, I intended this article to be about PTSD “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” I wanted to write about the myths and misconceptions that those four words may hold. But as the days went by, the story just wouldn’t come together for me. Everything I typed seemed to miss something. There was no feeling.

    April 17, 2014

  • Journalists in combat zones ‘write with light’ while risking their lives

    I first heard the news on National Public Radio on my car radio. On April 4, the day before elections in Afghanistan, an Afghan military officer walked up to a car in a convoy and opened fire. Anja Niedringhaus, a staff photographer for The Associated Press, died instantly.

    April 16, 2014

  • There’s no war on men and boys — it’s quite the opposite

    Two weeks ago, Paul Dici submitted an column titled “It’s time to fight against the war on men and boys” (March 28). Mr. Dici would have us believe that men and boys are being “wussified” by a progressive agenda that may jeopardize our national security. Also, he makes the point that men and boys are not given the same advantages (programs) as women and girls.

    April 14, 2014

  • McCord outsourcing ‘scandal’ reminds me of Y2K fears

    With only seven weeks to go until the May primary election, the campaigns are expected to get a lot hotter and more negative.

    April 13, 2014

  • Can we trust luck when it comes to the nuclear industry?

    Let’s review the history to better understand a major concern of today.

    April 11, 2014

  • Aging — is it a disease to be cured?

    If you are already old, get ready for what comes next. If you are not old yet but on the way, it is not too early to start thinking about aging and dying, because both are part of being human.

    April 10, 2014

  • Local high school students help keep future of journalism bright

    Significant technological and economic changes have caused some to question the future of journalism, both as a viable business enterprise and as a potential career. But if the proceedings of the eighth annual Northwest Pennsylvania High School Journalism Day are any indication, journalism is alive and well, especially in Crawford County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Reps want to hang ‘English only’ sign at the Capitol

    Pennsylvania, it turns out, is one of 19 states that have failed to address the menace that is non-English. Or maybe it’s un-English? Or dis-English? There must be a word for it.

    April 8, 2014

Business Marquee
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks