Sandra Bullock speech: What a 4-year-old teaches you about life

Sandra Bullock surprised high school graduates in New Orleans Monday, by delivering the commencement address to a packed arena. The source of Sandra Bullock's wisdom? Her 4-year-old son.

Kathleen Flynn/ The Times-Picayune/AP
Sandra Bullock addresses Warren Easton Charter High School's graduating seniors in New Orleans on Monday, May 19.

Actress Sandra Bullock surprised graduates at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans on Monday, delivering the commencement speech to hundreds of graduates and their families. The Oscar winner ('Blind Side', 2010) shared wisdom that serves parents as well as graduates, giving pearls that make her sound a lot more like the mother of a 4-year-old than a Hollywood star.

Ms. Bullock, who adopted her son Louis with ex-husband Jesse James in 2010, said to graduates that when someone asked her recently what she would say to her younger self, she said she would share lessons she has been teaching to her young son. 

Bullock made eight points that pertain to kids of all ages, in all walks of life, whether just learning  first words, heading out into the world after graduation, or raising a family.

“What I tell a 4-year-old is what I wish someone had told me before I stepped out in the world,” said Bullock.

Here are a few of the highlights from her speech:

“Raise the bar higher”

Bullock said that she only remembered the times when “I tried beyond what I thought I could do and I don’t remember failing, because I didn’t.” She clarified by adding that failure is not real, but rather it just means that something is supposed to work out differently.

“You have to dance a little bit before you step out in the world, ‘cause it changes the way you walk.”

This advice is definitely relatable to parents, who often find music as a point of release and joy for their kids. As many adults may forget to start each day with a dance, Bullock mentioned that she and her son turn the music on loud in their home before leaving for the day.

“Do not pick your nose in public.”

More importantly, she pointed out, don’t pick it in private either. Her deeper message? Getting a tissue takes a little effort, but it’s worth it. Make the effort to do the right thing.

“When someone you care about hugs you, hug them back with both arms.”

Most importantly, Bullock pointed out that hugging with two arms “allows you to lean” both physically and emotionally, and everyone can all use that kind of support.

She ended the speech by telling the audience to go out and find their joy, saying that it is completely up to each individual to track down what makes them happy. While this is a pretty common sentiment shared in many graduation speeches, when you think of it applied to teaching young kids, and maintaining patience and sanity as parents, it also rings true.

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