What if K-12 kids gave commencement speeches?

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When kids open their mouths, you never know exactly what’s going to come out.

Sometimes they’ll say something so super-cute that your heart nearly bursts. Or they’ll blurt out a thought so unintentionally hilarious you laugh until you cry. Other times they say something so nonsensical that all you can do is nod in faux agreement and move on to the next topic. 

But occasionally, they’ll let loose with straight-up sage-like wisdom.

Children have a way of looking at things and ruminating on them that belies a wisdom way beyond their years. And they also have a knack for delivering their thoughts in very simple ways. While adults tend to overthink things, kids are more likely to tell it how it is — and sometimes bluntly so.

We asked our friends and colleagues what tidbits of inspiration they’d expect to hear from K-12 kids making a commencement address to the classes of 2016. Below are a few of the results.

“You’re going to have rough days. If life gives you lemons, open a lemonade stand and start selling lemonade. Take the money you make from the lemonade and buy something that will make you feel better. Like a new video game. Or lots and lots of candy.”

“Don’t be late for things. Grown-ups get mad when you are. But if you are late, or you do something wrong, say you’re sorry and try not to be late again next time. Everyone makes mistakes.”

“Be nice to people and do kind things without anyone asking. Sometimes I empty the dishwasher for mom even though she didn’t ask me to.”

“One of the most important things you can be is a good friend.”

“Some nights it’s okay to stay up past bedtime. You know, to watch a movie or have a sleepover with friends.”

“It’s highly unlikely that there’s a monster underneath your bed, but it never hurts to check anyway. Better safe than sorry!”

“It’s okay to cry. You shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, though. It’s not that hard to clean up milk, anyway.”

“Make sure you eat plenty of veggies. I don’t know why, exactly, but my parents always make me do it, so I guess it’s a good thing to do. Oh, and listen to your parents, but don’t be afraid to ask questions. If I’d asked my mom and dad why I have to eat veggies, I would probably know why they’re good for me.”

“You should always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ but you should only say ‘sorry’ when you’ve done something wrong, and when you really mean it.”

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, say your not nice thing in the nicest way you can. Or just keep quiet.”

“Wear sunscreen.”

“If you finish your homework before you go outside, you’ll be able to have more fun outside, because you won’t have to worry about doing more work later!”

“Sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do. There will be days when you have to skip recess to get something done. Make up for lost playtime over the weekend.”

“Dream big. Or small. Dream however you want. Anything is possible. You can be a veterinarian. Or an astronaut. You could be the very first veterinarian astronaut, even, and maybe you can take a dog on a rocket ship with you! A dog in space would be awesome.”

“If you’re not good at something, don’t give up: Practice! You’ll get better. Like my cat, Mabel. At first, she wasn’t great at playing with our dog, Murphy, because they scared each other, but the more they played the more fun they had together.”

“Did you all know that cooties aren’t actually real? And that you don’t really have to get shot with an arrow to fall in love? That’s right. You’re welcome.”

“If you like someone you should tell them. If you don’t, you’ll always wonder what would happen if you had!”

“We’re here today because school’s out. Do you know what that means? It means now you can give a love note to anyone and there will be no teachers around to take it from you and read it out loud to everyone.”

“Sometimes you should call people instead of texting them. People like little things like that. At least that’s what I heard my sister say to her boyfriend once.”

“If you really love someone, you will always share your pizza with them.”

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