I am being inducted into my high school hall of fame today. My brother Jim read the speech reproduced below. My parents still live in the neighborhood and were in attendance along with some good friends. Jim beat me, having been inducted years ago.
Here is a flattering video made for the ceremony:
Here is the speech:
All You Need is Love
For Brighton High School
By Michael Gollin
All You Need is Love.
The Beatles broke up in 1970, just before I entered Brighton High School, and their songs had begun their leap toward immortality. As a member of the peace and love generation, this song strikes me as timeless.
Family love is where we begin.
High school is a time when many of us draw apart from our families, but trust me when I say that you will be much happier when you reestablish loving relationships with parents and siblings. All of you should have the pleasure of finding a spouse and creating your own family. Then things can turn full circle when your children form their own identities in their high school years. And when you get old or sick, they can take care of you.
Love of learning comes next.
Hopefully you have found subjects that you find so interesting that you can’t stop looking for information about them. Maybe it’s music, movies or social justice or computer technology or sports. For me, it was nature and thus biology. But I really learned a lot from all of my classes and being on stage or in the orchestra pit for all the musicals!
Get in the habit of learning and keep it up your whole life long and you will never get bored. The trick is to stay curious and be brave enough to say “I don’t know.” When I was in high school I wondered why leaves are green and several years later I learned the answer, in a college biochemistry class, that the chlorophyll absorbs all the other visible colors and converts the photons into sugar and oxygen. The green color is a gift for us.
Love of work is for the fortunate.
If you find work that you love and that pays a living wage, then you are well on the path of happiness. For me, I love my job as a patent attorney, including my colleagues, and clients, who are professors, a Nobel laureate, the Bill Gates Foundation, and research institutions around the world. When I got sick, I didn’t want to go on full disability and I still do what I can even though I can’t talk or walk.
It took me ten years of post high school education and ten years of lawyering before I got in my groove and it was hard work all the way.
What are your goals? Whatever your calling, be patient and strategic and your path should open up to you.
Love of play is easy.
It’s easy to love play and some of our happiest times come when we are playing with friends, whether games, music, socializing, or entertainment. Play complements our other activities and creates one of the strongest threads in the fabric of life.
Love for humanity.
You will be much happier if you consider the impact of your actions on your community and humanity at large. My simple motto is “increase the good and decrease the bad.” Be creative and fearless and never underestimate the power of small groups of committed people to accomplish great things, or at least good things.
Love for nature.
I have always found peace and refreshment by being outside, whether sitting, walking, hiking, running, biking, swimming, boating or gardening. Now that I can only sit and look and listen, I still try to go outside every day. We come from nature; we are part of nature, and it brings me comfort to realize I will return to nature when my body dies. Whatever helps you to keep your mind, body, and soul strong and fresh, make time for it.
One of my sayings goes like this:
A full life is one that begins in love, flows with love, and ends in love.
In conclusion, to quote the Beatles again, love is all you need.