Wedding Speech to Lee Ann & Ben

© Jay Harden

This is an exciting day, don’t you agree! The father of the groom salutes the union of Lee Ann and Ben, two brave and beautiful beings starting their great joint adventure. Shona and I are honored to share in your joy.

I would like to publicly pass on to the couple a bit of appropriate advice that Ben’s mother told me about 25 years ago. She was a parent educator, and about to go out to teach another evening class of anxious young mothers. She bent down and looked him in the eye and casually asked: “Ben, what do you think I should teach these moms?” The five-year-old boy gave it only a moment’s thought and slowly said to her: “Be kind.” Then he added: “And tell them where the bathroom is.”

So I say to Lee Ann and Ben: be kind. And be loyal. Try to understand. Work and play smarter, not harder. Be open. Be truthful. Judge no one. Be enthusiastic and live in the moment, for everything is fleeting. It is a great time to be alive, a great time to be married. No one knows what the future holds. Therein lies the adventure and the mystery and the reward.

Someone once explained love in a simple way that rings true from my experience and I want to share it with you. He defined love this way: reveal who you are…and take your chances. I think this is more wise than fairy tales that tell us to strive for the perfect relationship so everyone lives happily ever after. The truth is that there are no perfect relationships, there are no bad relationships, there are only learning relationships. And the great learning is learning to make yourself happy, not someone else. If both of you do this, you will find together and individually everything you wanted. Shona and I bless Lee Ann and Ben with love, with peace, with health, with prosperity, with adventure, and with learning.

Remember, change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Oh yes, and be kind to your children. For they will choose your nursing home.

June 24, 2006

Scottsville, Virginia