I took a contrarian approach, at least as concerns graduation speeches, and began with the bad news:
- God is not on your side (Joshua 5:13-16)
- You're not basically good kids (Romans 3, et al)
- You can't be anything you want to be, even if 'you set your mind to it' (Eph. 2:10)
I finished with this, reminding them that the most important thing about their future was whether they really believe that God loves them and can really bring about all He desires for them:
"You are in the same position as Joshua, at his commencement. He never would have seen the power of God demonstrated in his life if he thought that he was basically a good guy and that God needed to get with his program.
"So, the bad news: You cannot be anything you want to be. But thank God that his power and his goodness and his grace are so much bigger than our own desires and dreams. You CAN be all that HE calls you to be.
"Don’t “dream big dreams”—instead follow a Big and Gracious God in little ways, and he will do more than you can ever ask or imagine as you serve and love him.
"Don’t follow your heart to find your calling, your heart will lead you to disaster. Instead follow the Caller, who created you for a purpose that, when fulfilled, will both meet your deepest desires and challenge you in ways you can’t imagine."