This is a transcript of the speech I gave in accepting my induction onto the Ben Davis High School Alumni Wall of Fame, on February 23, 2013.I work with words.
I am a writer. A wordsmith. I put together words to form sentences, and sentences to form paragraphs, and paragraphs to create whole narratives.
Now, writing might seem like a lost art in this age of texts and tweets. It's ironic that even though today we're communicating more frequently with more people, our social communication skills are diminishing -- especially among younger people.
That's a shame, because words are important. If you don't know how to write, you can't convince people, or instruct them, or entertain them and tell them stories. That's why words are important.
I know there aren't many -- or any -- students here today, but I do see lots of parents and grandparents. You need to tell your kids and grandkids how important it is to learn proper writing skills. When everyone around them is communicating in short 140-character tweets, the ones who can write and speak well will be successful, will become leaders. Everyone else is destined to be a follower.
I understand that technical training and standardized tests have their place, but they only take you as far as everybody else -- average. Learning how to effectively communicate is what puts you ahead of the rest. When you can write, when you can work with words, then you can convince, instruct, and entertain others. And that's what's important.
That's what we need to tell students today -- to learn how to work with words, how to communicate with others. That's what will make them successful.