This graduation is bittersweet for me, as Emily's father I have watched many of you grow up to become the fine young men and women you now are. I see you and wonder what she would be like and the adventures she would be on. Many of you were her friends, and many you have experienced the loss of a friend at a time you shouldn't have. Graduating middle school to high school made the transition sad -- the empty seat and missing your friend. Now four years later, allow me to share some thoughts and advice. This is not about Emily or sadness, but about life and opportunity.
I wanted to address you directly, but thought in this day and age social media might be a better way to share my thoughts with you all. I hope you don't mind, but I really wanted to share.
Two very important life lessons that have stayed with me: Time is precious, and nothing is impossible. Never let anyone tell you you can't, because you can do anything you set your mind to -- anything.
I grew up in a small suburb of Montreal, and here I am many years later living in Malibu as a producer. No one taught me how to do this. When I was your age I wanted to do something in entertainment but had no frame of reference or know-how, and many people in my life told me I couldn't. I never listened. The journey is not easy, but if you want it you can do it.
Time: This is a recent lesson that I know you all understand. One moment you have someone, and you think it is forever; the next, without any reason, they are gone. Time wasted is never regained. Wasting time doesn't mean you have to be busy all the time, because time relaxing, playing or just staring out into space is not wasting time.
Taking people for granted, thinking I can do it tomorrow -- that is wasting time. My biggest regret is many times I put my work in front of spending time with my children, because I always figured there would be tomorrow. I was mistaken, and I have learned my lesson, a little late but nonetheless I get it.
Our children, you who are graduating are what is important, nothing else. One day you too will have children, and all a child needs is love and attention -- everything else doesn't matter.
I know we need to work and support our families, but there can be balance. I was an involved dad and still am, but I missed out a lot because at times I chose to work, thinking that I would absolutely make a difference and that whatever I was working on couldn't wait till tomorrow. Well sometimes it couldn't, but most of the time it could and the problem, situation or job will be there tomorrow and you would have eked out a few more precious moments with the most important people in your life, your children.
Don't be afraid, pursue your dreams, your desires, and let your imagination guide you. So many people settle and don't do what they want. I have always said, "Be sad it's Friday night and excited when it's Sunday night, because to live any other way is not right." Passion is everything, to live for two days out of seven, is wrong. Dream.
Pick a job if you can that is your life and not your work. It is part of you; it helps define you. I know this is not always possible or realistic, but if you can you will be a happier person for it. Don't be afraid to fail, as long as you learn from your mistake and don't keep repeating it. Failing is a lesson, you tried, and it didn't work, brush yourself off and try again.
To be miserable in your job everyday will kill your spirit and joy if you do it for money and not passion. Money may never come. Money makes the world go round: we need it to survive, but not at the cost of a good spirit, a great soul and happiness in our lives. Love what you do and money will find its way to you.
Travel when you are young so that you can understand the world around you better. Life is interesting, and you are growing up in a dynamic time, and you can learn a lot taking yourself outside of your comfort zone -- seeing how others live so that you can better understand your world around you when you get home.
Think of others, help others, be kind. Shouting never solved anything. "Pass it forward." A gift unexpected will make you feel better than the person receiving it, trust me I know.
We started our foundation the day Emily died. It just came to us, and it is a great gift. I knew nothing of this world of helping others. I was always concerned about others but was too involved in my own life to do anything about it. Then we decided we had to do something so Emily would never be forgotten. You, her class, carry her memory into the world. You can make a difference for your friend who can't. Share, be kind and think of Emily and what she might have done if she had a chance because you can. One person can make a difference.
Finally love... love what you do, love who you are and never tell anyone you love him or her if you don't mean it. Love is the currency of life -- find it, cherish it and most of all share it.
I wish you all success, joy, happiness, peace and tons of love. Go out and conquer the world, and let me know about it, as I will be cheering you on.