Staying home more these days due to the coronavirus has provided me with extra time to declutter the household, the office, and reminisce. While going through the old green hanging files and manila folders, I came across copies of the first speech I delivered thirty-three years ago. I am talking about memories! As I sat in my sky-blue wing-back chair, those 1987 old days brought themselves to the modern times of August 2020, as I read and re-read that speech. With your indulgence, I share my first written and my first delivered speech with you:

Delivered to the Business Communications class at Webster College,
Gainesville, Florida. March 3, 1987

Good evening. First of all, I thank Mr. Rogers for giving me this opportunity to say a few words. It’s not often I have a chance to speak before such a distinguished group. You are distinguished because you are my fellow students. A group of people I appreciate is my instructors here at Webster College – Ms. MacBeth – Typing; Ms. Rockwell – Computer Language; Mr. Rogers – Business Communications; and Mr. Daniel Robinson – Principles of Accounting.

It says a lot for these people and the other instructors here, sharing their time and wisdom with us – aspirants of higher education. And this is what life is all about – helping, giving. Not financially, although that is important, what I’m speaking of is giving of one’s self.

I see this as climbing a ladder. A person climbs a ladder, trying to reach his or her goal, that person reaching upward, grasping an outstretched hand, being helped to reach their goal. This same person reaches down to help the climber behind him to achieve what he or she wants to achieve. This action of giving is, at times, not easy. It takes a commitment of time, a commitment of energy, a commitment of service to humanity. Let us devise ways to assist the climbers behind us. We will thereby be helped as well.

In 1941, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. stated in an address to the United Service Organization in New York;

“I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.”

That sums it up. I encourage each of us to give, to help. Let us take heart. Thank you for your attention.

Currently, companies are forming ideas on how to adjust and respond to escalated racial tensions and social unrest. Diversity and inclusion have become buzz words. Nevertheless, those two words go a long way in rectifying the divisiveness. At the risk of sounding boastful, which I am not, thirty-three years ago, I had no idea that the short Giving of One’s Self speech would, in one form or another, apply. Remember, this isn’t bragging, I’m merely sharing with you a part of me and my thought process, applicable today, as written many moons ago.

© 2017