copyright © 2002 Ursula J. Hull

What kind of friend are you?

Individual friendships are something that most of us take for granted. But we aren't all friends of our communities and the world. Being such a friend requires serious thought and important decisions.

Now that we are officially recognized as adults, we are expected to make adult decisions. We have responsibilities and we must carry them out. We have legal responsibilities, but we also have obligations to ourselves.

Laws are for everyone but some people decide not to obey them. One is always hearing about abuses of a spouse or an elderly parent or the mistreatment of the mentally retarded and the defenseless child, which too often ends in the death of the helpless victim. Our neighbors and local businessmen have felt the blow of robbery. Every day, people abuse welfare programs, taking money away from those who really need it. People cheat on forms of all kins -- from those qualifying us for free services to income tax forms.

But we have a chance to change the world. And even if we can't alter all of it, the least we can do is make our own world around us better. One person can't change decisions made in Washington but one person makes all the difference to laws made regarding his neighborhood, town or county.

What kind of environment do you want your children to grow up in? I know most of you aren't concerned with that right now. But you should be because their world will be what we make it. If you choose to be a person who thinks rules aren't made for you, your children will probably grow up feeling the same.

However, if each of you sticks to the laws, both the written and the unwritten, you will make the place you live in a better one. Just the decsion to keep a neat household will be a help to your world. An unkempt house or lawn can spoil a neighborhood entirely.

Many problems face us, the new generation of adults. But if we all combat them, perhaps we can ensure that the next generation doesn't face the same ones. Do you like to see litter along the roadsides when you go for a walk or a ride? Maybe you don't even notice it. We know that prices are getting higher and higher in grocery stores everywhere. But it's not all because of inflation. It's because of shoplifting and other problems. Merchants have to raise their prices to make up for the things that are stolen. We can help stop shoplifting by reporting people we see committing the crime. Probably most of us wouldn't do that. But we all complain about high prices.

Adults have decisions to make regarding people other than themselves. Children's minds are formed according to their parents' beliefs. The world would be a much better place if all parents loved their children -- and showed it.

No matter where we all go in life, no matter where we live or what we do for a living, we will all have to make most of these decisions.

In other words, take a look at yourself and take a look at some of the people you know. Are they doing anything to make the world better? Or are they lazy and do their surroundings show it? Do you want to follow the example set by an uncaring citizen?

I hope not, because each and every one of us has the potential to do something and to be somebody. May we all realize our potential and may we make the right decisions, for ourselves and our world.

Ursula J. Hull
June 1982
Buckingham Co. H.S.
Valedictory speech

"What kind of friend are you?" debuted June 14, 2002, performed by Millicent Mckie.

[Ursula J. Hull's website]

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