Thursday, June 12, 2014

Graduation Day

Last weekend, my family celebrated a special occasion. One of my cousins graduated from high school, and she is headed off my alma mater, Concordia University Wisconsin, in the fall.

Graduation day. It brings so many thoughts to mind. How many of you remember a cardboard hat and paper gown for your preschool graduation? It conjures up images of young children so excited to head off to kindergarten in the fall. If you attend a Lutheran school, I am sure that many of you also had an eighth grade graduation. It was a time to reflect back on eight years of daily instruction in Lutheran schools. Then, there is high school graduation. This one might be a little more momentous. High school pass more quickly. It is only half the time one spends in grade school. Yet, it is filled with anticipation of a bright future. Students head out into the workforce and into colleges.

This time of year often brings plenty of advice for young graduates. As a teacher and a fan of the great Dr. Seuss, I thought I would recommend a few good reads. The first book is a classic gift that was given to me by a dear friend when I graduated from high school. The whimsical humor reminds us of childhood while depicting a world that is ours for the taking.

Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

Now, let's take a sharp turn from the humorous to the truth found in God's Word. When I graduated from high school, my aunt gave me a first aid kit filled with band-aids, aspirin and the like. However, she also included a daily dose of scripture. She had filled a small bag with Bible verses. While sleep, food, and studying are all necessities of successful college life, one must also remember spiritual care. The following Bible verses were some of the ones included in my kit:

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

What advice would you offer to new graduates?