Graduation is more than a ceremony

Published 7:30 am Sunday, May 22, 2022

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Congratulations to the young people who will soon receive their diplomas! It may seem for the moment that you’ve completed your education; however, there’s something you need to know.

Your schooling may be over, but your education will continue. During a graduation ceremony I recently attended, a speaker commented, “You will never again think yourself as smart as you think you are tonight.” In other words, learning is a lifelong journey.

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.”

Graduates, 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 your years of 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 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. These rules will do to follow throughout your life.

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, be honest.

Don’t forget some of the most important rules to live by such as the ten in Exodus chapter 20 about lying, stealing, coveting, etc. Here’s a word to the wise from the wisest man who ever lived, “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 path” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJ).

Oh yes, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know.  You’re the guy who’ll decide where to go.” Now, go in God’s grace!

— Jan White is author of “Everyday Faith for Daily Life.”