A quick tally reveals that since my husband and I have been together we will have attended 22 graduations for our kids and grandkids by the end of this month. And that doesn’t include the sweet kindergarten graduations with cherubic faces grinning under precariously perched construction-paper mortar boards–or all the “moving up” ceremonies to middle school and high school.
Sitting through the list of names from Aker to Zimmerman, and listening to all the speeches about learning from the past and reaching for the stars in the future, were all worth it, however. Even if the auditorium was stifling hot and we were seated behind a large post. Why? Because of the graduates we loved and wanted to celebrate fully!
And yes, we’ll have more pomp in our family this graduation season—under different circumstances! I know it’s true because two graduation invitations are on our refrigerator. Granddaughter Sophia will graduate from Del Norte High School and granddaughter Morgan will graduate from the University of Arizona–a year early! Both girls will be adding all their hopes and dreams to that cumulative pile formed by 2019 graduates everywhere.
I haven’t been asked to give a graduation address since I was in high school, and frankly I hope I never am. I’d have a hard time sticking to the expected “worldly advice” and “it’s all up to you” script. I wouldn’t be able to keep myself from offering Biblical advice that matters—something with substance like: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Sadly then, in many schools today, the “politically correct police” would drag me from the podium and out the back door of the auditorium. But I might have time to toss over my shoulder a few more words of practical advice I’ve heard or learned—my honorary academic gown flapping with every step, and my honorary mortar board tassel bouncing up and down:
“Don’t worry about what other people think of you, because they don’t think of you that often!”
“Start your day by making your bed and no matter what you’ve accomplished something!”
“Wear sunscreen! Skin cancer happens.”
“Stay in touch with your parents! They’ll always love you.”
“Show up where you’re supposed to be and when you’re supposed to be there!”
“Look for opportunities to help or encourage someone else! Be kind and humble.”
No, I won’t be giving any speeches. But I will be sitting proudly next to my husband taking in all aspects of the celebrations: Graduates hugging one another and high-fiving, cell phones flashing, parents and grandparents beaming in that foolish way we do so well. And why shouldn’t we? Graduations are great milestones worth celebrating on this journey we call life.