There are myriad ways to measure success, but Noel Curington felt the true method was a matter of semantics.
“There was ways to be successful ‘in’ life, but it’s most important to be successful ‘at’ life,” Curington said Friday night at Waurika High Gymnasium, where 17 soon-to-be high school graduates would soon take a big leap into a new adventure.
Curington, a 1961 WHS graduate who was the 2014 Spirit of the Eagle award winner, noted the difference of succeeding “in” life and offered three challenges to the graduates that would be a measure of success “at” life.
One way to differentiate “in” and “at,” Curington said, “Is to live life so you earn the goodwill of your fellow men and women. You will need other people in your life, so treat other people as you would like to be treated.
“I know that sounds simple, but it is profound. In the future, your life will be more about relationships than it is now.”
Having spent several years working with his wife, Ann, in childcare and then more than two decades as a Church of Christ minister, Curington said the second challenge was to “be determined you’re always going to do the right thing.”
“It’s not that difficult,” he noted, “but what is difficult is getting down the road and wishing you had made other choices. If you do the right thing, you will have fewer regrets in life, and regrets can be hard to overcome.
“But if you do the right thing, people will respect you.”
A third challenge Curington proposed was dealing with opportunities.
“Take advantage of the opportunities that are before you,” he said. “This is a small class at a small school in a small town in an under-populated county in the state of Oklahoma.”
However, he said, each member of the Class of 2014 would have occasion to contribute to the grand scheme of society by making the best of opportunities.
Curington’s third challenge to be successful “at” life stemmed from noting there were over 3.3 million high school students who would graduate in the 2013-14 school year.
“For every person you meet, you have the opportunity to have a positive influence or a negative influence on those people, and they will influence other people,” Curington said. “This one high school class you’re in could better America.”
Curington’s hope for the Class of 2014 was borrowed from a posting on Facebook: “A life filled with love and deeds is the best tombstone. Carve your name on hearts, not on stone.”