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Johnny Go, SJ My dear High School Faculty and Staff, dear parents,dear students, this morning I decided instead to speak to you not as your Director, but as a fellow Xavierian, someone who studied here and did a lot of my growing up right on this campus. I spent some of the best years of my life here in Xavier, but there are a few "secrets" I wish I had known back then -- things which would have saved me a lot of trouble, a lot of mistakes, and a lot of detours in my life if I had taken them seriously; things which, come to think of it, my parents and teachers did tell us, but maybe I was just too distracted to listen or too immature to understand. Let me share with you> three of these secrets ? for whatever they're worth.
Secret no. 1: When I was younger, I used to hear people say, "The more, the merrier!" But as I grew older, I realized that "more isn't always merrier." Like many people my age, I was somehow led to believe that the more I had, the merrier my life would be. And so, like all my classmates, I was infected with the drive to keep up with others: to get the latest pair of Nikes, the most fashionable brand for my shirts, etc. And when I didn't have all the things that other people had, I somehow felt that I wasn't as good as the others who did. I somehow felt incomplete and unhappy. But through the years I've met many people who seem to have everything they can ever wish for, but for some strange and sad reason, aren't merry at all, are far from happy, and are even, by their own confession, quite miserable. It seems that once we fall into the> vicious cycle of acquisitiveness; it isn't easy to feel satisfied and grateful. We always want more because there's always more to want. I can see that today, more than ever, the same acquisitiveness, the same pressure to keep up with others, continues to be present among the young people: the desire for the latest computer, the latest cell phone model. Since I've experienced all that myself, I actually understand. But I've learned -- and I hope that in time you too will learn -- that "more isn't always merrier." Don't get me wrong: it's not a sin to be rich. Riches are a gift from God. When put to good use, riches can do people a lot of good: we can eat well, we can go to good schools, we can even help the poor. The problem with riches is not that they're bad in themselves, but whether we like it or not, they are dangerous. I've heard many people say that they'll get rich first, then they'll help others. Famous last words. More often than not, they do become wealthy, but somehow never get around to helping others. I think the reason is that when we want to possess, we also end up getting possessed. There's just never enough, and our lives can end up as an unending and unsatisfying pursuit of fortune.
Do not make the mistake of reducing yourselves to the things you possess because all these things fade and pass. "Faster isn't always better. The I. we could spend the rest of the class playing parlor games like chess and Game of the Generals in the classroom. do not define yourselves by your possessions. you are more than what you achieve. We always want the easy way. It infects us all. it had its share of strengths and weaknesses." When I studied in Xavier.But the truth is: "more isn't always merrier. Sometimes more than the results. More important is how you got there. it is the process that shapes us and defines us. What's going to be remembered is how we worked ? or didn't work ? to get our grades. we were the guinea pigs of that system. And so on and so forth.I. 3: "'Me first' is not the secret to . this mentality. if not even more important.." Many of us wanted to go fast because after completing all the requirements for the year. 2: "Faster isn't always better. I'm also talking about teachers and staff." it is also true that "faster isn't always better. I see that even without I.! But you see. no one is going to remember the grades we got. I'm not just talking about the students. Our culture and lifestyle have conditioned us to this mindset.I. Under that system. So. We aren't pleased when our computers aren't fast enough. system allowed the fast students to go fast. but how we got those grades.I. just as "more isn't always merrier.I. and the kind of person you've become in the process of achieving the things you wanted to achieve: your values and your personal integrity. my dear students. We roll our eyes when it takes a while to download stuff from the internet. we were under a system called I. ? or "Individualized Instruction. We are so result-oriented that we forget that the process is just as important. Secret no." Secret no. the short cut. It's not so much the grades we end up getting in our report cards. Imagine today the computer games you can play if we still had I. the better." Getting the results quick and fast isn't all that important. Years from now. including myself. each student could proceed at his own pace: if it would take him only a day to learn and master a particular topic. Today. One weakness it had was a type of mentality that it produced among the students: "the faster you are. The truth is. this mentality is alive and well. then he could move on to learn something else the very next day. He didn't have to wait for the rest of the class and spend two or three days on something that he had already mastered." It was introduced when I was in Grade 5. and made room for the slower students so that they could be given more time and attention." We are more than what we have. You are more than fast and easy successes. We are more than what we possess. Like every system. and in many ways.
" My wish for you is that you would not have to take so many detours in your life the way I did ? or commit the mistakes I committed ? just to find out that all these secrets. whether we know it or not. after all. To find a higher dream in the greater scheme of things. We also tire of thinking of ourselves all the time. No matter how successful we've become. Come to think of it. But how can I decide? Which road I should take. Will I meet a friend or ghosts I left behind? Should I even be surprised that you're with me in disguise For it's your hand I have seen in the greater scheme of things. To think of myself all the time. Or all things have a place in the greater scheme of things. that I first heard about these so-called secrets about life: "More isn't always merrier. gospel truth. in fact. we eventually tire of success." In life too often we find ourselves plunged in a rat race. too: "Blessed are the poor in spirit. Why don't we follow the voice that calls within. We tire of all the honors that come with it. who will be my guide? I need some kind of star to lead me somewhere far. it just isn't true. One day we'll find our place For all things fall in place. from my teachers. What does it profit a man if he gains a whole world but suffers the loss of his soul? The first shall be last. are. from the Jesuit priests. is just no guarantee to a happy and meaningful life. to love myself above all others.happiness. 'Me first' is not the secret to happiness. .1 is a sure fire formula to happiness and success. It was here in Xavier. God bless you all! Each must go his way. The result is that. in different words and language. The problem is." You probably hear this all the time. we've heard all this before from the Gospel. And we begin to think that being No. and the last shall be first. The road before me bends. Dance to the silent song it sings. I don't know what I'll find. Faster isn't always better. The first line of a song by Lighthouse Family a couple of years ago says it all: "Sometimes I get tired of the 'me first' attitude. we often end up watching out for ourselves at the expense of others." I know the feeling. all these cliches.