MPSHome Alumni Calendar Contact
Tiger News
Kevin Kling shares commencement address


Congratulations 2018 graduates!

Near here is Waterfall...for the first people it was a meeting ground.
Safe zone share ideas, trade, meet in peace.
Down closer to your school are two rivers , the Mississippi and Minnesota come together. They considered this a sacred site, two spirits coming together as one.

Another thing about Rivers, we only see their surface we can't see the currents underneath.

I think of South high , on the surface another graduating class but underneath is this force of nature you just dont want to mess with.

We give our lives value through our struggles and a hero is only as great as the dragons they face.
Your time in school You have fought For freedoms of gender, race, to live and study in a safe environment, that justice should and does mean for all. These are some serious dragons and the reason last year my hero was your generation.

You were joined by incredible teachers and an amazing principal, they have stood with you, joined your causes 

I live in south Minneapolis, So its a great honor to stand before this class today, to congratulate you on this amazing achievement and welcome you into your next adventure.
As you look around the room remember You might not always be shoulder to shoulder as you are today but you will always have this extended family.

When I think of a good education I think of a Nigerian folktale called Four brothers  
There were once four brothers and they each went out and received a different education. One became an architect, one became a medical doctor, one went into the spiritual sciences became a mystic, and the fourth brother never really found his place and wandered about learning from the streets. One day they came together and decided to see who got the best education. They took a walk and came across a dead lion. Let's use this lion to see who got the best education.
So the first brother, the architect, was off putting the bones back the way they were. The second brother, the medical doctor, jumped in and put on the organs and skin and the muscle. The third brother got ready to breathe a breath of life into the lion when the fourth brother climbed up into a tree. The third brother breathed into to the lion, it came to life, and ate the three brothers. The fourth brother climbed out of the tree and said, "now we will never know who got the best education."

Today is less about what you've learned and more about that you've learned how to learn.
You have taken knowledge, history, science and made it your own
Taken experience and gave it meaning
Most importantly You have learned how to learn from 

From Teachers...that challenged you, 
Families...provided, protected, you
Friends that stood by you
Mentors...that lit the path.
Ancestors..crossed oceans 
They are so proud of you,  and because of your work today you honor their faith, their sacrifices.
The reward is yours and it is well earned but it is A shared success. And That's the beauty of it we stand on shoulders as one day there will be those who stand on yours. And from now on every graduation you attend you will relive today. This feeling.

I was at a Commencement last week a graduate said why does everyone ask what I want to do why don't they ask who I want to be? 
I remember clearly standing on a street corner in Sweden there was a man Telling stories of Vietnam nam. He was passionate, eloquent, funny, ferocious,
I didn't say "I want to do that", I said "I want to be that."

One of my favorite words is
Belong. Being and longing...a be and to long to be elsewhere,
Where we are at are most comfort...
Safety and challenge
A nest and vastness
a place we can risk safety

Resiliency...defined as maintaining ones shape. We are shaped by family, faith, community.
When we recognize each other we see ourselves in another and by helping them we realize are helping ourselves.

I became a writer because of my left arm
People called my arm whithered or crippled or said you poor thing or what happened? By the words they chose I could tell whether they blamed me, my parents, God, or themselves for my condition. And with that I could get what I needed out of them.

Mary Oliver said "it's not the weight it's how we carry it."
Johnny cash said "talent is god given but our style comes from our limitations"
I believe Our power comes from our differences.

Usain bolt ...worlds fastest human, has a little hitch in his step.
It is uneven.
Everyone is taught to run smooth and even , but if you want to be the worlds fastest put a little hitch in your step.
Differences provide us a new perspective.
The secret is to listen to each other

Listen not for what you want to hear but to what is really there
I thought a grade school class and ask the kids what made them different, what set them apart and that is what came them their power. So they came up with superhero characters. We were going around the room telling what gave them their power. I came to one girl who said she is very shy. I asked her why does that give you power? And she said, "because sometimes people forget I'm in the room, and I am invisible, and I know everything."
The Sufi poet Rumi said.
"The Moon comes through the window not the door if you're waiting by the door you'll never see it."

Really deep listening is Empathy... we gain the wisdom without having to go through the experience.

Listening is how we find our connections.
The spiral bones in our inner ear connects us to the shell of a snail and the shape of the Milky Way.
The song of the whale sped up is the same as the nightingale.
Pythagorus believed everything has a song.
Rocks, trees, planets.
We haven't lost the ability to hear the music but we have lost the ability to recognize it. Listen for the harmony.

Humor! Find it.
When you can laugh at something it doesn't control you.

Practice kindness, look for opportunities to be kind, it will take you far

Take walks

Say things out loud. Don't just think or text them, hear them, hear what they conjur.
The ancient Greeks believed spirit lived in breath. To put thought to spirit, we inhale we exhale inspire expire
Every breath a possibility of laugh, cry story, song.
Conversation is an exhchange of spirit.

Follow your curiosity, see where it leads
Ira Glass says, trust your own good taste

When you feel overwhelmed just do the next right thing.
E L Doctorow said
It's like driving at night with the headlights on, you can only see a little way ahead but with that you can make the whole journey that way

I would like to finish with a poem, this porn starts from the fact that this planet does not contain the minerals we need to farm life. There had to be stars, comments, and astroids crash into the planet to bring things like iron for our blood. If this is true everyone in this room is a piece of a star, and if that is true this room is a constellation, unique and alive at this moment.
These are some things I have learned in my time among constellations.
There are families I give my blood and families I share my blood.
I've learned knowledge is acquired but wisdom is recognized.
I've learned love thrives in audacity , dies in carelessness, and hides in simple gestures.
I've learned there's the trip your plan and then there's the trip you take.
And home has gone from a place that is, to one I remember, to one I now create.
Where I know the names of the God
What's funny
What's sacred
And now where I will find you.
So I'm looking up to the stars, and I know no no not burning some still send their light. So I'm looking up to the past and the future, I'm looking up to home, I'm somewhere between where I stand and they send their light we meet. May look into the heavens and the stars looking down at what it's like to be alive.