Chief Justice Wins Praise for Wishing 'Pain' on Students

Unconventional commencement speech notes lessons come with hardships
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2017 11:32 AM CDT

Commencement addresses are typically filled with well wishes. Chief Justice John Roberts went the opposite route in a June 3 speech getting attention this week after the Washington Post published excerpts. Roberts told students at an elite boarding school for boys in New Hampshire that he hoped their future would see them hurt, ignored, and betrayed—and Robert Barnes at the Post calls it "the best thing Chief Justice Roberts wrote this term." That's because Roberts went on to explain that with pain comes compassion. Being ignored teaches "the importance of listening to others," he said. Betrayal teaches "the importance of loyalty." One standout line: "I wish you bad luck—again, from time to time."

Bad luck means "you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved, and that the failure of others is not completely deserved, either," continued Roberts, whose son was among the graduating class of ninth-graders at Cardigan Mountain School. Time has a full transcript of the speech, which others are also applauding. Roberts could host a talk show, writes Ephrat Livni at Quartz, noting "he spoke gently yet reminded the boys that life is sometimes harsh for all, even privileged private school students." (More John Roberts stories.)

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