Graduation Address 2014

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version
Graduation Address 
June 8, 2014
Language evolves over time.   In the high school years these seniors have seen things come to be cool, then not cool.  
•“Uber Legit”
•“I know right”
One phrase that can be heard more currently is, “Hashtag Yolo.” 
Seniors, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a few minutes to get those not in or around high school conversations caught up with you guys.  Or at least caught up enough.
1)Hashtag means almost nothing.  It is represented by the pound sign.  It means what you say next is a short summary of a larger sentiment.
We saw an angry woman driving, smoking, and yelling into a phone while the small child rode in the back.  One senior said, “Hashtag, Parenting.”
2)Yolo is an acronym for “You only live once.”  It is typically said in the context of doing something unwise.  For example, when considering when we were in high school in Wisconsin, there was a place called the cliffs.  They were rock ledges that you could jump off into the river below.  There were some low, clear, relatively safe locations, and some higher more dangerous ledges.  When  deciding whether to jump off of a high cliff, someone might say, “Well, Yolo. I’ll do it.” 
If I haven’t yet, I am now going to attempt to completely ruin the phrase, “Hashtag Yolo.”
Parents, you understand that something can be very cool, until parents say it or do it.
For example, 
•How cool is texting?  It was pretty cool when it was a high school kid thing.  Now that parents text their kids, it’s not really that cool.
•How cool is Facebook?  Not that cool anymore.   Once your uncle set up an account for your grandma, it stopped being cool.
•Parents, as soon as we’re done here, download an app called Snap Chat.  You will only have to send two snap chats to your students, and never have to worry about them using it again.
•Parents, when your students ask you why you want to go on an extended family vacation, just say , hashtag yolo.  You will never hear your children say it again.
Hashtag Application
Seniors, what is your hashtag?  How would you describe yourself in a quick word or two?  As a group, I would say “Seniors 2014, hashtag focused.”  Many people in life lack the ability to really zoom in on things and become laser focused on them.  You guys have that.  
Andrew is very focused on academics, Robots, and Lancers.  Robots and Lancers both require extreme focus.  One setting involves hours of training machines to properly follow simple commands, and the other setting is the robot team.
Axton is also a Lancer, and he’s also been very focused on the military.  One is a setting where people volunteer to get yelled at while marching for hours in a straight line, the other is the military.  
Harley is very focused on academics and sports.  She helped spearhead a major renovation.  That 
Talon focused on basketball.  He’s so focused on basketball that he only took half his classes senior year.  Actually Talon willingly tolerated without complaint a physics class he didn’t need to take.
In life, what will be your hashtag?  What word or words summarizes who you are?  What are you going to be?
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God.
Hashtag God Imitators
Hashtag Walk in Love
Hashtag Love as Christ
Yolo Application
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time.
That is a strange phrase, “redeeming the time.”  Listen to it again in its context.
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time.
What does it mean to “redeem the time?”  It means YOLO!  Just like Yolo means you only live once, you don’t have time to waste.  Redeeming the time is a phrase which means you don’t want to waste your time, but make the most of it.   The NIV translates the phrase into the words, “making the most out of every opportunity.”
We now need to draw a strong contrast between this concept of redeeming the time, and what is typically the unwise concept of YOLO.  What follows YOLO is, like I said before, typically something unwise.  Listen for what follows the phrase, “redeeming the time.”
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time
 because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.[c]
People get focused.  People get busy.  Have you heard people describe life as a rat race?  It’s because you get so focused on all the details, you just keep following the same paths everyday taking the same small steps.  You go to work, you come home, you eat dinner, you take your kids to practice, you go to sleep.  Tomorrow, do it again.  Pretty soon you need to step back and take a look at the bigger picture.
People become very focused on good things.  Good things are fine to focus on until they displace better things.  Sometimes people use the phrase, “singly focused.”  That means that we can really only focus on one thing at a time.  Basketball practice is great, unless it displaces family devotion time.  Family vacations are great, until you don’t have time left over to help others.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to
•Be filled with the Spirit
•Speak in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
•Singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord
•Giving thanks always for all things
•Submitting to one another in the fear of God
Let’s return to this idea that we are to be imitators of God.  Let’s finish, like we so often do, by looking at Jesus' example.  What would His hashtag be?  
Jesus knew Yolo very well.  He knew He only had one short life, and it had to be perfect.  He had to redeem the time.  He didn’t allow Himself to get caught up in a rat race of life.  The man who could have done anything decided to be singly focused on one thing, serving us in this room, to the point of death on the cross.
We will probably only hear the term hashtag Yolo for another year or so.  Then it will be replaced by some different nonsense.  In the meantime, Seniors, I kind of hope that when you hear the term hashtag you take a moment to reflect on what your hashtag is to the rest of the world.  Reflect on what really summarizes you.
I kind of hope that when you hear the term Yolo, you reflect for a moment on the fact that you need to redeem the time and slow down in order to praise God, thank God, and serve others. 
Follow Jesus' Yolo example.  Jesus focused on the cross every step of His life, so that you seniors can continue to walk with Him into the future years of your life and into eternity.  Amen.
Kyle Ochsner