This is a motivational speech I will be presenting during the combined Grade 10 & 12 Graduation of the Hagen Park Secondary School where I have been invited as Guest of Honour. The special event is scheduled for Thursday 4th December 2009 in the city of Mount Hagen.
It is a real privilege for me to speak on this very important occasion that marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in the lives of Grade 10 students and Grade 12 students graduating today.
I thank the 2009 Graduation Organising Committee for inviting me as Guest Speaker.
Life is full of opportunities, especially in this country. I have found that what people of all walks of life need is inspiration more than anything else, to get them to believe in themselves and on the road to success in life.
So I hope that what I say today will be an inspiration not only to the graduating students but all students in this school, young people in general, and every one of us witnessing the graduation today.
The title of my speech is, “FLY LIKE AN EAGLE; DON’T SRCATCH THE GROUND LIKE A CHICKEN!”
3. THE CHICKEN-EAGLE
I have a collection of stories on file which I use in my writings, speeches and sermons in the church. One such story, which I would like to relate to you today, is that of the chicken-eagle. I hope that you will not forget this story.
Once upon a time, there was a large mountainside, where an eagle’s nest rested. The eagle’s nest contained four large eagle eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the mountain causing one of the eggs to roll down the mountain, to a chicken farm, located in the valley below. The chickens knew that they must protect and care for the eagle’s egg, so an old hen volunteered to nurture and raise the large egg.
One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful eagle was born. Sadly, however, the eagle was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle believed he was nothing more than a chicken. The eagle loved his home and family, but his spirit cried out for more. While playing a game on the farm one day, the eagle looked to the skies above and noticed a mighty eagle soaring in the skies. "Oh," the chicken-eagle cried, "I wish I could soar like that bird."
The chickens roared with laughter, "You cannot fly with that bird. You are a chicken, and chickens do not fly, they scratch."
The eagle continued staring, at his real family member up above, dreaming that he could fly. Each time the eagle would let his dreams be known, he was told it couldn’t be done.
Soon the eagle came to believe that he was a chicken. He stopped dreaming about flying and continued to live his life like a chicken. After a long life as a chicken, the eagle passed away.
The moral of the story is this: YOU BECOME WHAT YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE. Many people are supposed to fly like eagles but they live like chickens because they think like chickens. Many eagle-people don’t fly because they allow chicken-people to influence and convince them that they cannot do it. Soon they begin to think like chickens and so live in a yard scratching for worms all their lives, and die like chickens even though they were engineered to fly like eagles. SO WATCH WHO YOU ASSOCIATE WITH. If you mingle with chickens, you will think, live and die like a chicken.
4. TEN QUALITIES OF THE EAGLE AND LESSONS FOR EAGLE-PEOPLE
Let me share with you ten (10) qualities of the bald eagle (not the vulture). I will relate these qualities to the habits and behaviours of eagle-people.
Firstly, the eagle does not flock like other birds. It flies alone. It does not do what other birds do in flocks.
Eagle-people do not do what everybody else does. They do not go around in groups. They do not bring themselves to live under peer pressure. They think, talk and walk differently from the majority of people. They don’t waste their time taking spins in town or playing cards and darts because that is what other people are doing. They seek out other eagle-people to associate with. That is the main reason they succeed in life, while the majority of the people fail because they do what everybody else does.
Secondly, the eagle makes it home high up in rocky cliffs, higher than where all other birds make their nests.
Eagle-people set very high standards for themselves and live by those high standards. They set goals and are purposeful in all that they do. They are honest, hard working, and punctual, refuse to be bribed, enticed, etc. They don’t get involved in tribal fights or supply guns and bullets to their tribal members. They do things that are the opposite of what the majority does.
Thirdly, the female eagle tests the would-be male partner before agreeing to become his life-long mate. She takes a stick high up into the sky and drops it and challenges the male who is courting her to catch the stick before it lands on the ground. She does this several times, flying lower and lower until she is a few metres from the ground. This is the hardest test yet, and only the male who swoops in and catches the stick at that very low level gets to become her life partner.
Eagle-people test other people to find out how committed they are before they form trusting, life-long relationships with them. They know that the people they associate with can make or break them, so they deliberately pick and choose the people they associate with. Eagle-girls do not go around with any man who offers her money; they test men to see how really committed they are before they reciprocate. They know that life is short and fragile, so they do not mess around with married men.
Fourthly, the female eagle teaches young eaglets to fly by carrying them on her wings high into the sky, then dropping them, or pushing them off their nest in the cliff face. The mother feeds and loves them when they are babies, but when it is time to fly, it is rough on them.
Life teaches us likewise. Don’t expect life to be easy on you. Many of you graduating today will be dropped by the system. Your dreams will crash. If we go by national statistics, less than half of Grade 10s graduating today will not continue on to Grade 11; and only 30% of Grade 12s will not get places in tertiary institutions. Even if you make it to college or university, it is highly likely that you might not get a paid job.
When this happens, don’t get disappointed and give up. Take it as life dropping you because it wants to teach you to fly. Don’t cry over it; let it strengthen and motivate you to find your purpose in life. Remember that you don’t need a university degree to succeed in life.
Fifthly, the eagle has very powerful eye sight with which he can spot his prey from far above the sky. Because the eagle flies high, it can see up to 11 kilometres from where it is. It has long vision.
One of the benefits of education is that it transfers information and new ideas which open the minds of people. As educated people, eagle-people can see better than others who have not had the benefit of getting educated. Eagle-people are visionaries. When their minds expand, their eyes open for them to see far and wide, and they walk in the reality of what they perceive. They can see where they are going. Where chicken-people see problems, eagle-people see great opportunities. They do not allow people with closed minds to influence, manipulate and dictate to them.
Another aspect of being an eagle-person is because they have better sight, they are able to think before they act. They can see the consequences of their actions before they take any action, so they act with more wisdom unlike chicken-people who cannot see that far. For instance, they don’t act out of anger. They think first and do not allow anger to drive them. Chicken-people demonstrate their anger quickly because they cannot think and see far.
Sixthly, the eagle loves storms. When all other birds run and hide from an impending storm, the eagle gets really excited and it flies straight at the eye of the storm. He then spreads his wings and allows the wind to carry him high into the sky. He leverages the storm to fly higher than he could by using his own strength.
Eagle-people do not run and hide when the storms of life confront them. Instead they look at those storms as opportunities and stepping-stones for advancement, not threats and problems to hide from. When they are faced with obstacles, they look for ways around instead of giving up in despair and hopelessness.
Seventhly, the eagle flies higher than all other birds. In fact, it flies higher than jet planes. Many pilots have reported sighting eagles flying above their planes!
Eagle-people fly higher than chicken-people. They succeed no matter how uneducated they are, or how poor their background is.
Eighthly, eagles do not feed on dead flesh; they only eat fresh flesh. Vultures like the meat of dead animals; eagles hate it. They have higher dietary standards.
Eagle-people do not drink alcohol, smoke, chew betel nuts, or take drugs. They consider themselves too good for these unhealthy stuff. They don’t watch pornographic DVDs or engage in premarital or extramarital sex just because everybody around them is doing it. They feed their minds by reading good books or do their homework instead of wasting time playing computer games on their mobile phones or watching TV. They don’t gamble with their money or demand and accept bribes. They live by very high ethical standards.
Ninthly, when the male eagle feels that his feathers have become worn out, he goes to a place far from where eagles normally live. He then plucks out all the old feathers and waits until his feathers grow again, then he gets back into life with new vigour and zeal.
Eagle-people are honest with themselves about their habits and attitudes. They don’t defend their weaknesses, but rather they confess and expose them. They shed bad, limiting habits, attitudes and mind-sets, before they begin to engage with the world.
Finally, the eagle outlives all other birds. Its average life-span is 70 years.
Eagle-people live long, and they enjoy life. Their lives are fruitful because of the standards they live by. They are assets to society, not liabilities. They are a blessing and not a curse to have around.
Students and young people, let me tie all that I have said by saying to each one of you individually: YOU ARE AN EAGLE. YOU ARE NOT A CHICKEN. YOU ARE CREATED TO FLY LIKE THE EAGLE, SO BE THE EAGLE YOU ARE, AND DON’T SCRATCH THE GROUND LIKE CHICKEN DO.
I have come to the end of my speech. We are going to end it together. Repeat after me: “I AM AN EAGLE, NOT A CHICKEN. I AM GOING TO LOOK UP, NOT DOWN. I AM GOING TO FLY, NOT SCRATCH THE GROUND. I AM GOING TO SUCCEED IN LIFE, NOT FAIL.”
Believe it, and live it!
To graduating students, CONGRATULATIONS! To everyone, A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! God bless you!