I first learned about and read the  college graduation speech I am going to share with you today from the Brain Pickings blog, a wonderful little place that highlights the best in the arts and literary world. And I learned about Brain Pickings from my good friend Peter, who has several blogs including PeterWrightsBlog.

I love how you can find great blogs and great reads on the internet from friends that I would never have found in a million years on my own. The Internets are way too cool that way.

GSRecently Brain Pickings ran the text of one of last year’s great college graduation speeches. It was given at Syracuse University given by author George Saunders. He gave a moving, gentle,  and thoughtful speech about kindness.

He went on to say, “….as a goal in life, you could do worse than: Try to be kinder.”

The speech is funny and serious in turn.

The speech also went viral.

Below are a few of my favorite quotes from the speech:


* “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”

* “Because kindness, it turns out, is hard – it starts out all rainbows and puppy dogs, and expands to include…well, everything.”

* “To the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness.  Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.”

* “Most people, as they age, become less selfish and more loving. I think this is true. The great Syracuse poet, Hayden Carruth, said, in a poem written near the end of his life, that he was “mostly Love, now.”


However, this short gem of a speech is worth the read, so below is a link to the entire kindness speech.


Kindness Speech


The news this spring is that the speech is coming out in book form too. You can get it at any book store or on the internet.

There is also a You Tube Video of a small part of the speech as well. So if you do not have time to read the entire speech, below is a short video of the heart of the speech.





My thoughts on kindness and more:

In America today I see or sense too often an almost mean streak in many Americans. Too often we do not seem to tolerate any one who disagrees with us. And we call people who disagree with our opinion some of the vilest names.

There is little kindness. There is little trying to understand a different viewpoint. There is little tolerance. There is little forgiveness.

We are no longer kind to our fellow citizens.

This makes me incredibly sad!

Why can’t we disagree agreeably any more? Why can’t we debate without rancor? Why can’t we disagree agreeably?

Why do we no longer tolerate different view points?

Free speech: that is one of the basic tenets of The Constitution of the United States of America. A free and lively debate is what the Founding Fathers wanted and wrote into the Constitution.

Why can’t we err in the direction of kindness as George Saunders suggests?

Why do we no longer believe and act as biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote of Voltaire, the French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher, and his beliefs:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

1 A blue green

Featured Recipe    White Fish Piccata


I have always liked to play with food. And when I find a taste I really like I like to see what else I can do with it. For instance, why is piccata sauce only used on chicken?

So I started playing around with various parings. Steak……not so great. Pork chops not too bad. Fish…..Ahhhh …….now that is a pairing made in heaven.

This sauce goes very well with any white fish like sole or cod too. My fish store had no fresh sole today so I used talipia.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

3 talipia fillets

3 tablespoons flour

3 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 cup dry Vermouth

3 lemons:

xxxxxxxxxx2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

xxxxxxxxxx2 lemons sliced

1 tablespoon drained capers

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste


Here is what you do:

Juice one of the lemons and slice the other two.


Measure out the wine and the capers.


Salt and pepper both sides of the fish and dredge in the flour, shaking off any excess.




Cut the butter into 3 pieces.


To Cook:

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until it is very hot.


Add the fish to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and the center or thickest part of the fish is firm to the touch.



Remove the fish from the pan and place on an oven proof plate or baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.




Add the wine, lemon juice, and capers to pan, stir and cook 1 minute more.


Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time to the pan, stirring until each butter pat melts.

First Pat Of Butter

First Pat Of Butter

Third Pat Of Butter

Third Pat Of Butter

Then add the lemon slices and cook another minute or so.


Plate each fish fillet and spoon some of the sauce over the fish. Add two or three of the lemon slices on top.




Goes well with some wild rice and a salad.

Bon appétit!!!

3 talipia fillets                       $10.55

3 tablespoons flour                $0.12

3 teaspoons olive oil              $0.33

1/3 cup Vermouth                  $1.14

3 lemons                              $2.37

1 tbspn drained capers           $0.10

2 tablespoons butter              $0.16

Total Cost = $14.77

Cost per person = $4.92

Quote of the Day

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are.

Author Unknown


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4 comments to Why?

  • Yes, my father always said, even hate is protected by the Constitution. The rash of intolerance our country is experiencing, primarily from the Left, scares me. Especially since I was once of the Left. In a Left-ish sort of way. But I felt safe speaking my mind because I knew my speech was protected as was the speech of all who disagreed with me.
    Seems like intolerance rules the day.

    • Roberta

      I once considered myself left of center, a progressive and liberal. Today I am a registered independent. I still believe I am progressive with a strong conservative streak. But it is the group of people who call themselves progressive today who are more dogmatic than progressive that scare the beeheebees out of me.

      I believe in what Bertrand Russel said:

      The essence of the Liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held, but in how they are held: instead of being held dogmatically, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment.

  • Glad you like Brain Pickings, it has some real gems every week.

    It’s easy to criticise, but to me as a relatively new North American, I am appalled at the lack of tolerance for different views I experience here. In many ways I experienced more tolerance for different opinions, from ordinary people of all races, economic levels and political persuasions in Africa.

    • Roberta

      Sorry you have had such a less than positive experience here in North America, Peter. This is a relatively new phenomena as we used to be more tolerant. Am not sure why we have changed. Part of it is the new Democratic Party. I do not know or understand that party any more. Part of it is a phase – I hope only a phase – the USA seems to be going through right now. I do not like it!