A few weeks ago, I was supposed to give a speech on the word of the month at our school assembly. The word was 'compassion.' For the six weeks prior to this, I had been writing a speech on the topic of love for an event in Speech, and decided that it would fit nicely. I was extremely nervous about it, because I had worked on it for so love and put so much effort into it. I was lucky enough to get some positive feedback about it, so I decided I would put it online for everybody to read again, and for those who didn't see it the first time to hear what I had to say. So here it is, in full, the speech I gave at the December monthly assembly for the character speech on compassion. Enjoy.
LOVE SPEECH TRANSCRIPT
This would be a good time to yell speech. Okay, so it’s been a while since we’ve done a good word-of-the-month speech, and have I got a good one for you today. The word of the month is compassion. Who thinks they know what compassion is? What is compassion? Love. Right, compassion is love. It is showing sympathy, being considerate, showing love towards others. Now for speech and debate there is an event called original oratory. In original oratory, you give a persuasive speech on a topic of your choice. And for this speech, I chose love. I’ve been writing this speech for a while and have worked really hard on it, and I think it fits in the theme of compassion well. Ready?
I would like to begin my speech today with two quotes. They are from two very different individuals, but both of them said nearly the same exact thing. The first is from David O. McKay, a former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who said: “Happiness and peace will come to earth only as the light of love and human compassion enter the souls of men.” The second quote of mine is from the Greek philosopher Plato, who around two-thousand three hundred years earlier, said: “The human race can only achieve happiness if love reaches its conclusion.” These two men, thousands of years apart, living in completely different societies, had the same exact philosophy, this goal for humanity- one that I think each one of us shoiuld embrace. Love is a way of living that can dramatically improve our world. During this speech, I will outline for you what love is, what it does, and how it can reach its ‘conclusion’- happiness throughout the entire human race.
Love. A difficult concept to grasp, especially for a seventeen year old. But there is one thing I have come to understand about love, and it is this; that there is nothing in this world as infinite as love. Now, I mean this in a couple different ways- let me explain. Love is infinite in its ability. It is capable of doing incredible things. Loving one another and coming together can end wars and create peace, saving thousands of live and preventing mass genocide. Instinctually, humans have a connection to each other. But when we play on this connection, and we allow it to work itself into politics and our daily lives, it has done things like creating the human rights movement. That, as you may recall, spurred the abolition of slavery, won the fight for woman’s suffrage, and resolved the civil rights movement. Little things like that.
Love is also infinite in its volume. Every single one of us is capable of expressing great amounts of love at any time. So, then, we have heaping amounts of this all-powerful tool. We can accomplish anything, right? Yeah, but we’re lazy. Not just Americans, everybody is. Imagine, if you will, if we used love in full, in everything we do. Currently, we just use it in bits and pieces sprinkled here and there; even though we recognize those bits and pieces as the flashes of brilliance that have accomplished every great thing in our world’s history. When we have used it, it works wonders. Examples: love of freedom created this nation, love of medicine created the polio vaccine, and the love of technology created the computer, just like; love of convenient eating creating the corn dog. Yeah. It works.
And yet, love’s full potential has not been realized. The biggest tragedy of the history of human race is this discrepancy between the resources we have at our hands and the output we have to show for it. Why do we cut down our fellow humans, spreading hatred and negativity? We still to this day all over the world oppress races, ethnicities, genders, and every other group of people possible. Instead of constructing a better society, we are tearing down the foundations we have toiled so hard over to lay. Instead of working together and becoming united, we instead compete and aim to destroy others that we see as “competition.”
The philosopher Socrates, despite threats of banishment from his home state of Athens from his free-speaking, claimed “I am not Athenian or Greek, but a citizen of the world.” We are all one. Many of us see other nations and other cultures as the ‘enemy,’ but they aren’t. Many people see disaster-ravaged countries and expect them to fix themselves, but they need help. We need to realize that every last one of humanities’ problems is a problem to all of humanity. There aren’t America’s problems, Europe’s problems, Africa’s problems, Asia’s problems, and Australia’s problems, and son on; no. There are only humanity’s problems.
And we allow this to happen, this hyper-nationalism, this ignorance and indifference toward other peoples to tear us apart; and we do nothing to change it. Racism and hatred isn’t just something we have to live with; we allow for it to exist. Many have a sense of entitlement- this attitude that “I don’t need to do this, the President needs to do this, or Congress needs to, or Jesse Jackson should hold a rally about it, or Chuck Norris should roundhouse kick so and so in the face”, and we blame somebody else. Blaming only intensifies this problem. Each one of us should be making a change. I know I work towards this goal every day. I’m not very good at this. Sometimes I can be arrogance, conceited, selfish. I can be cold and reserved. But these are my faults, and I admit them because I’m trying to get better. Hopefully others will follow me. Mohandas Ghandi said, say it with me, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” and those words are so true. I keep saying that we need to be the change; we need to ‘show love.’ But where do we start? Well, it’s simply a way of life. Stephen Grellet was a prominent French Quaker missionary born a few hundred years ago. He spoke with kinds, czars, the Pope, people all over the world, preaching the word of compassion. He sums up his philosophy in this quote, my favorite one. He says: “I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
So do it now. Be kind. Be nice. Be loving. Be compassionate. If what I’m saying sounds cliché, be cliché. As Grellet mentioned, our time here on earth is limited. We all need to carry this sense of desperateness. Any kindness you can show, show it now. Let that be your main objective. Because what matters in the end isn’t how much money you have, what you own, or who you’re “better” than. What will matter is who loves you, who you love, and how you show it.
So I challenge you to do adapt this philosophy, starting today. I challenge you to show love in every single thing you do. I implore you to show love towards your fellow man; to support his every endeavor, to embrace his accomplishments, to promote continual progress towards improving the human condition. Once every individual adopts this as their personal creed, then love can reach its conclusion, and the happiness that Plato promised, will ensue.
I have one final quote for all of you today. Mother Teresa, the world-renowned humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize recipient said the following: “I have found the paradox, that if your love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” So everybody, follow these simple steps, and you will make the world a better place. I have shown you how to do it. It isn’t difficult. The key is through happiness. Make everybody you can happier; because honestly, is there anything else that really matters? Thank you for listening.