In honor of all the graduations and speeches occurring in the next couple weeks, I want to offer something that many graduates and their families will dearly love: A short commencement speech.

It seems that we all tend to get so busy with our day to day lives, that we forget about what’s really important, which is the relationships we share.

When it comes right down to it, the relationship we have with family and friends is the most valuable possession we’ll ever have.

Let me give you an prime-time example.

“Extreme Home Makeover” is an outrageous network TV program (Sunday evenings) that is really interesting to watch.

In the show, certain families are selected for an extreme, seven-day, blow-you-away home renovation. The design and construction teams make houses bigger, add incredible fixtures and details, buy all new appliances and furniture. The results are so incredible that sometimes all you can do is shake your head in amazement.

But here’s what’s so interesting about it…


Each week, as the interior of the old house is demolished, then put back together in incredible new ways, the real story somehow becomes not the house, but the people (and how their lives are changed).

A recent episode was about Carrie Powell, a single mom who has worked hard to support and raise her two boys. One son has asthma, and to make matters worse they recently learned that their home has toxic black mold.

Here’s her story:

It wasn’t easy for Carrie Powell to bring relief to her younger son, Keenan, who suffers from a rare cell disorder, asthma, as well as allergies. It was all made worse by the dust and living mold in their Arleta, California home.

Doctors told Carrie that Keenan wouldn’t live to see his first birthday. Determined to not give up hope, Carrie, a florist by trade, turned to her herb garden to help Keenan deal with his diseases.

While the divorced Carrie learned to grow her own medicinal herbs for Keenan, she lost job after job because she had to take time off every time Keenan was admitted to the hospital.

In addition to caring for Keenan and her older son, Chris, now 25, she couldn’t keep up with the expenses of constantly fixing things in the house that made Keenan sick.

Keenan beat the odds and is now a strapping 16-year old who wears a size 15 shoe and stands at 6 feet tall. Keenan has been able to keep his health in check, but keeping the house hypo-allergenic for him has been a problem.

Before Chris leaves for military duty in the Middle East, he wanted to make sure his mom and little brother would be well taken care of and the house be no longer toxic to Keenan.

So, the team of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition made a house call. Their mission was to prescribe the right antidote for Keenan by eradicating the black mold and providing a healthy, new environment for the entire family.

The crews made the house safe, decorated it to the hilt, designed a knock-you-over-beautiful bedroom for the middle-aged mom. When she sees the oasis they created for her, she bursts into tears.

“You’ve made me a place to feel like a queen.”, she exclaims!


Talk about an emotional experience. I’ll bet there wasn’t a dry eye in America.

Even though my mom passed away seven years ago, I was immediately reminded of something she always used to tell me.

“Do to others what you would have done to you.”

I’ve never forgot her words.

You see, The Golden Rule limits the damage we can do to each other.

And like me, I hope you too will let it guide your actions. If you do, you’ll be blessed with some of the most rewarding relationships life has to offer.

Tape it to your bathroom mirror. Use a magnet to attach it to your refrigerator. Clip it to the visor of your car.

“Do to others what you would have others do to you.”

Congratulations on your commencement