My morning with Oprah Winfrey

I'm bursting with pride over Grace's college graduation last weekend. As the festivities have died down and the dust settled, I continue to reflect on the words of the three commencement speakers who spoke: Wes Moore, author and activist, Ann Rosenthal Tisch, education advocate and founder of the The Young Women's Leadership Network, and Oprah Winfrey.

Wes Moore spoke eloquently about the importance of using the opportunities that the students have been given to help others without these same opportunities. Moore reflected on the "fact that our society is full of 'others' who right now need and deserve a champion."

Ann Rosenthal Tisch, whose admirable work has focused on providing education for underprivileged girls in New York City, discussed the importance of failure: "be prepared for challenges, dead ends, failures, and veering off-course...The best way to deal with trying times is the invitation to think." I loved that she hung every rejection letter she ever received on her wall "to take the sting out of it". Embracing failure is a strong message that we don't hear often enough.

Oprah Winfrey, true to form, advised listening to your heart, acting with intention and living in gratitude. "There is nothing more powerful than using your personality to serve the calling of your soul. Your real job is to know the truth." Taking 17 seconds a day to experience gratitude "even if its only for the fact that you are still breathing" is a gift everyone deserves to do for themselves, she explained.

Compassion, resiliency, self-knowledge and gratitude - these speakers powerfully communicated the messages that I have tried to impart to all three of my children. Kahina has been one way I have tried to demonstrate these principals. I think they are listening.

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