Graduation is more than a ceremony, it’s a lifelong journey

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2010

By Jan White

Congratulations to the young people who will soon receive their diplomas!  But, there’s something you need to know.  Your schooling may be over, but your education will continue.  The wisest mind has something more to learn.

Our second president, John Adams, stated, “There are two types of education…One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.”  As Henry Ford once put it, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.  Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

Grad-uates, you are about to enter a school not made of bricks and mortar. You are entering the school of experience.  It’s a school that you will attend the rest of your life.  Along the way, you will have some classes in the school of hard knocks, as those of us older than you have already learned.

Someone has said, “Graduation is only a concept.  In real life you graduate every day. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life.  If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.”  Author Louisa May Alcott once wrote, “Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!”

You may think that because the years of your formal schooling in a classroom have come to an end, so have your lessons, homework, and tests.  But, some crucial tests await you – tests of your character and integrity, whether on the job or in your personal life.

The lessons you learn will come as a result of accomplishments that will require hard work and mistakes that may cause regrets.  There will always be homework.  There’ll be yards to mow and houses to clean.

Throughout your school years, teachers and principals have given you rules you were expected to follow.  One teacher wrote his rules in a book, The Essential 55, and it became a bestseller several years ago.

“Always say thank you when you are given something.”

“Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough and say excuse me.”

“If someone drops something and you are close to it, pick it up.”

“Be as organized as possible.”

“Stand up for what you believe in.”

“No matter what the circumstances, always be honest.”

“Be the best person you can be.”

Don’t forget some of the most important rules to live by – such as the Ten in Exodus chapter 20 about lying, stealing, and coveting.  The wisest man who ever lived has written, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ).

Theologian Meister Eckhart once said, “One person who has mastered life is better than a thousand persons who have mastered only the contents of books, but no one can get anything out of life without God.”