Tis the season…
College graduates strolled, loped, skipped and bounded across stages a few weeks ago to receive their degrees. Now it’s the high school seniors’ turn.
Moms, dads, grandparents, siblings and an assortment of relatives and friends will swelter in the almost-summer heat, waiting to hear a single name called.
(Before I continue with serious contemplation of commencements allow me to wander into my usual off-kilter territory. If graduation ceremonies are meant to be celebratory occasions why do the folks who put them together go to such lengths to make them a challenge worthy of a reality show? If the ceremony is held outside chances are you’re fighting off dehydration by the time the festivities begin, and by festivities I mean speeches and introductions.
“Let’s welcome Dr. Jabberwocky and the Council of Educated Guys and Gals, blah, blah, blah. Now I’m pleased to present our speaker, Dr. William Somberdrone.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Chatter. When I graduated from the University of Giveusyourmoney 35 years ago I learned blah, blah, blah. So then I started Technocorp, blah, blah, blah.”
The cruelest trick is when you think the hurting is about to stop only to hear, “Furthermore…” You learn that the sweetest two words in the English language are “In conclusion.” )
We celebrate graduating from high school and college as significant milestones in our culture. A high school diploma opens the door to vocational training, military service, or college. The choices available in a university render the outcome far from certain: a bachelor’s degree might lead to fulfilling employment or a return to the job you had in high school. Either way, young people quickly learn that this grown-up thing involves accepting the consequences of your choices and moving forward. (At least they should; that’s a topic for another day.)
My hometown newspaper prints profiles of a handful of seniors from each local high school in the days leading up to graduation. One student per school receives $10,000 from the newspaper’s publisher, to be used however he or she wishes.
As I read the mini-biographies I’m struck by how much these young men and women have accomplished in their 17 to 18 years: GPA’s in the stratosphere, athletic prowess, community service. The first honoree was announced today: He excels in three sports and is ranked in the top 10 in his graduating class.
I was excited when I checked my grocery store receipt today and learned I had saved $7.00 with coupons.
I’ve listened to the blah, blah, blah and watched our sons cross university stages three times. With each ceremony the word “commencement” has tolled in my brain, ringing with power and hope. Coexisting with my maternal pride is this question: Are my commencements, my beginnings, behind me?
I certainly hope not.
Back in April I wrote “All Things New” about letting God “remake” me as He wishes. Are you detecting a theme here? Maybe it’s the awakening of spring or the approach of another birthday, but I find myself thinking with greater frequency about beginnings. I keep hearing the words of Brooks from the movie The Shawshank Redemption: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”
Are you interested in a commencement of your own? Let me know what’s new with you.