‘Tis the season for graduation ceremonies to be held across our state, including two for Leadership Montana in recent weeks. Along with these celebrations, we expect to be inspired and motivated by eloquently delivered speeches of graduates. Such was the case when I attended the graduation ceremony of Beaverhead County High School in Dillon where Valedictorian Lindsey Huber delivered this speech and I found myself excitedly thinking “Yes, that’s Leadership Montana language” throughout. Full disclosure, Ms. Huber is the daughter of my husband’s cousin…and my very good friend. Enjoy her words, just as I did.
“….do not become a person who thinks that their way is the only way, there is danger in this. We risk becoming irresponsible citizens when we think that the way by which we lead our lives is the only way a life can or should be led.
So, go out…explore not only the world, but the way that people live in it. Experience a religion different from your own, travel to a new country, or simply try a new cuisine. When a mind is stretched by new experiences it can never go back to its old size.
Not only do I encourage each and every one of us to get out and experience something new, I also want to push you all out of your comfort zones with this challenge:
Talk to someone that has a different viewpoint than you. All of us think differently, because we have all lived unique lives and bring our experiences together to form our opinions. This is a good thing. There is much more to learn by holding conversations with people that disagree with you, than there is to learn in echo chambers reflecting your own opinions. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. And I think we – our community, our state, our country – could use a lot more of it right now.
We are the people we allow ourselves to become. When we challenge ourselves, when we face difference with an open mind and an accepting heart, we enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.” – Lindsey Huber, Beaverhead County High School Class of 2019 Valedictorian