Inspiration Monday: J.K. Rowling’s Commencement Address at Harvard

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

-J.K. Rowling, 2008 Commencement Address 

“We do not need magic to transform the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have power to imagine better.”

-J.K. Rowling, 2008 Commencement Address 
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J.K. Rowling delivered her Commencement Address, The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, to Harvard University’s Class of 2008 last Thursday. I live about a half hour from Harvard, and for a moment, thought of going to the campus to see if I could find a place to listen to her speak.  But four-year-olds and speeches do not mix well.

According to The New York Observer, J.K. Rowling was the fifth female commencement speaker since 1950.  Can you believe this?

Some graduates complained because they wanted a prominent leader at the commencement ceremonies.  They scoffed at the idea a children’s book writer could deliver a suitable message for the future distinguished leaders of the world.  Hurray for the ten-year-old who said, “That was a terrible thing to say! They’re just a bunch of Muggles!”

Go here for to read the text and see the video of J.K. Rowling’s inspirational commencement address.  And see whether you believe this message was appropriate for a prestigious university, who could have any world class leader deliver the commencement address.  Then go out and make a difference in the world.  

Thanks to Robin Brande, I remembered I needed to post about this!

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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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