Category Archives: Random Thoughts

A More Practical & Less Inspirational Graduation Speech

A few weeks ago our Pastor asked if I would give a 5-minute talk during our graduating senior service. It’s where we celebrate & recognize the graduates from our congregation. This year we had four graduates; three high from high school and one from college.

Instead of going for an inspirational speech, I took a more practical approach, sharing advice from a previous blog post of mine and ideas I crowdsourced from friends on Facebook. What follows below are the thoughts I shared with our graduates and our congregation.

A More Practical & Less Inspirational Graduation Speech

When our Pastor asked me to give this talk to the seniors today I reluctantly agreed… not knowing exactly what I’d say.

There are plenty of great graduation speeches out there. I know. I watched some to prepare for today. Hit up YouTube and you’ll find’em… and lots of inspiration. Steve Jobs, Oprah… Even Matthew McConaughey all gave great, inspiring speeches.

I decided I’d take a different direction with my comments today. I’m not gonna give you high school graduates inspiration… I’m gonna share some practical advice… advice I wish I would’ve gotten 27 years ago.

Perhaps, Ms. A, our recent college grad can back me up on a few of these… Don’t worry though… I’ll have a few comments for you too.

First – Let’s talk class scheduling.

** Try not to schedule any classes before 10am on Mondays.  This will give you extra time if you’re coming off a rough weekend… or a weekend at home.

** Try not to schedule any classes after 3pm on Fridays.  This will get you a jumpstart on the weekend… and a trip home every once in a while.

** Yes. Enjoy your new freedom away at school… but come home too! It’ll be a balancing act when you come home dividing your time between your parents and friends… but always carve out a half hour to visit your grandparents. You’ll never regret sharing a cookie and conversation with them.

** When you do come home it’s OK to bring some laundry with you… but the key word is “some”… you don’t need to bring home every piece of clothing you own.

** My tip for laundry in college is this – Find a laundromat at school and figure out when their off hours are. You’ll be able to do multiple loads at once… and might be able to squeeze in some studying too.

** Stay active.  Join an intramural team.  Utilize the gym and workout facilities on campus.

** Take advantage of everything your college provides.  Your tuition covers more than just school. There are plenty of other activities that, as a student, you can attend for no extra cost.  Go to sporting events, plays, vocal performances, lectures, etc. Get a calendar of events from the campus activities board.

** Say “NO” to credit cards. Get yourself a part-time job, keep a budget, and use cash. It’ll keep you from spending money you don’t have on things you don’t really need.

** Speaking of money… do the math on the cost of each class… not per semester… but for every individual class. Trust me, the number will shock you… and will make you think twice every time you think about skipping.

** Do the same things with your books. Pay attention to how much they actually cost. Perhaps it will give you the motivation to read them when you’re feeling unmotivated.

** Find a balance between work, study, and play.  Work hard and study… but don’t forget to have a little fun too! The “real world” can wait. Enjoy these 4 years!

** Go to campus worship each week.  Campus worship services are fun. They’ll keep you grounded and get you through the hard, stressful times at college… Plus, if you meet someone to date there… you’ll know you already have your faith in common.

That’s it for you high school graduates… now a few tidbits for you Ms. A… as you enter the workforce…

** I know you’ll do this anyway… but whatever you do… work hard.  Show up 10 minutes early and stay 10 minutes late… It’s a little thing but your bosses will notice and it will set you apart from your co-workers.

** Treat everyone like they’re the CEO. Receptionist, janitor, someone in another department… doesn’t matter who they are… Remember that they are more than their position. They are people.

I’m paraphrasing Maya Angelou here, “People might forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how they made you feel.” Be kind to everyone. It’s the right thing to do… and because you never know who can give you a lead, a tip, or other insight to help further your career.

** Steer clear of office gossip.

** I’m not sure what you have for college loans but don’t wait on paying them off. Attack them! You’ve lived like a poor college student for 4 years. Keep that lifestyle up for a few more years and knock out your debt… then you can start saving money. You’re young enough compound interest will make you rich!

** Stay in Iowa. We’ve lost too much of your family’s talent to other states. We need your smile and expertise right here, close to home.

For the record… Your Mom didn’t ask me to include that… but if you do stick around I’m thinking she might hook me up with some cinnamon rolls for including it.

To all our graduates… and everyone, really… let me finish by saying… trust your gut… don’t sweat the small stuff (and 99% of life is small stuff)… make friends… be a friend…and remember that prayer is your direct line to God.  Don’t forget to USE it.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

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I’m A Dad & I Tell Bad Dad Jokes

Dads have a unique sense of humor. We can twist words, make puns, and turn ordinary, everyday life situations into little comedy nuggets that often amuse us… but not always those around us.

The jokes I make in my house often induce eye rolls from my teenage daughters and the same often repeated phrase from my wife, “Girls, don’t encourage him.” It doesn’t matter though. I continue to torture/make them laugh at my dad jokes.

I’m not exactly sure how it came about… but a little over a year ago I started sharing my bad dad jokes with more than just my own family… I began to tell them as a way to end my daily radio show on 92.5 NASH Icon, KJJY.

My listeners loved them! I’d get Facebook posts telling me which ones were “hits” and which ones were “groan-worthy”. Before long, people were sharing their dad jokes with me.

If they weren’t sharing them they’d always be asking me what today’s joke was. Often, I’d show up at one of my kid’s school events and get a, “Hey, I missed your dad joke today. What was it?”

It was clear that I had struck on something everyone (but my wife and daughters) really enjoyed so I looked for a way to share each day’s joke online.  That led to the creation of my very first podcast. “Tony Conrad’s Bad Dad Joke Of The Day Podcast“.

I put the joke from my radio show into podcast form each day and do bonus jokes on Saturday and Sunday. So far the response has been great. I’ve been amazed at the podcast growth and the number of people giving me a few seconds of their day to hear a new joke.

The podcast even led to its own Facebook page. You can check it out (and like it if you want) here.

I’ll admit that it’s been fun to track my podcast download numbers and hear from folks that enjoy tuning in each afternoon to listen to a joke… but all that pales in comparison to what I heard in podcast episode 12, from my friend, Stacey, A Dad In The Burbs.

Let me backtrack just a minute. Stacey and I have never met in real life. He lives in Canada and I live in Iowa. We met through a Dad Blogger group we’re both a part of. We both share a love of cooking,  coffee, good food, and being the best dads we can be. You can check out his blog here.

Anyway, it turns out, Stacey listens to my bad dad joke of the day podcast with his kids every morning. I think that is really cool… but it’s not as cool as what his kids decided to do.

They took the idea of a bad dad joke and made their own “bad kid joke”. If you listen to Stacey’s podcast episode 12 you’ll know he never got a great recording of their joke… but that’s not the point, at least to me, anyway.

I just find it incredibly cool that some Canadian grade-school kids were inspired enough by my jokes to create their own kid joke. They even had the act down complete with their own rim shot and laugh tracks! How cool is that?

Their story… and the encouragement of others… makes me want to keep going with my own jokes. It makes me want to keep sharing jokes because I believe the world is a little better place when we can all share a laugh together.

What’s your favorite “Dad Joke”? Leave a comment and let me know. I might share it on the podcast someday.

***Disclaimer – I really believe my wife and daughters love my bad dad jokes… they just don’t want to let on that they do. 😉

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What I’m Into Right Now – May 2018

How is it already time for another one of these? Feels like it was just last week that I did April’s round-up of things I’m into… and now here it’s time to share what has my attention as we enter May.

What I’m Into Right Now – May 2018

Girl Going Nowhere – I’m a big fan of this debut album from Ashley McBryde. It’s a great one from start to finish. You can read more about it in my review here.

Adobe Sessions – This Cody Jinks album is a few years old but it’s a great one. For anyone complaining about “pop country” I would recommend checking out this album. It’s been on repeat in my headphones as I’ve been doing yard work. Can’t wait to see him do some of these songs in concert later this month.

Sneaky Pete – I’ve already worked my way through season 1 of this Amazon Prime Exclusive show and just started season 2. This show features identity theft, interesting family dynamics, and some mystery. You can read the Amazon description here.

Spending time outside – Finally, the weather has turned and it’s been nice to be outside. I’ve enjoyed doing some Spring yard work, getting our garden ready to plant… and GRILLING!

YouTube Comedy Clips – Part of my job requires me to do a little data entry each day. It’s not difficult but requires concentration. I usually like to listen to something while working on it and recently I started listening to comedians on YouTube. Mitch Hedberg, Steven Wright, and Demetri Martin are some of my favorites.

What are you into right now?

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