Farewell Speech

Courtesy: stuff.co.nz

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

I’m facing a farewell this week. Hello and good-byes are part of life, particularly work life. I’ve been on both sides of workplace farewells many times. I’ve been part of the audience listening to the boss say good-bye to a departing colleague. I’ve also been the person leaving, with my own opportunity to give a farewell speech. I’ve watched long-term employees say good-bye and I’ve listened to a manager I’ve just met for the second time, say farewell to me after just five days temp work. Very different experiences and feelings but similar speeches.

There are things you can and do say in a farewell speech, and there are things you’d like to say but don’t say. Some things you may like to say but don’t include:

    • “Don’t forget me and all the amazing work I did.’
    • “Don’t mess up that wonderful system I made.”
    • “Don’t start blaming me for everything that goes wrong after I leave.”
    • “I told you so.”
    • “You can’t survive without me, you just don’t know it yet.”

Facing another farewell this week, in lead up to Easter, I’ve considered Jesus Christ’s farewell speech. The Gospel of John gives five chapters, 13 – 17, to Jesus’ farewell speech to His “work colleagues” – His disciples.

In Jesus’ speech, He didn’t say anything listed above. Although Jesus mentions other things, the one theme, the one commandment that stands out to me this week, in His farewell speech is simply: “Love one another.”

 This sentiment is part of people’s farewell speeches – be it work, family or final words on Survivor. Often the words used will be slightly different:

        •  “Be kind to one another.”
        • “Watch out for each other.”
        • “Look after Jane for me.”

Whichever words are used, the message is that relationships and how we treat each other is very important. Of all the things that a departing person can say, this is a common one, along with a brief “thanks for everything”.

Fortunately these days a farewell to a friend is more of an adieu given Facebook, blogs and Skype. Still, it’s not the same as seeing someone every day at work.

Do you have any memorable farewell speeches you’ve heard?

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