Op/Ed By Michael Vaughn-
This is the time of year I share thoughts with my readers regarding education (thank you BTW for sticking with me as we think through various issues and topics that are more controversial than others, although each one is as important as the next to discuss).
I’m a big proponent of education, and I have preached about it to my children, as well as to anyone else who would listen.
Education is something that, once you have it, it cannot be taken away, which is a major reason I believe we should be life-long learners.
People can lose their jobs, spend their money, and use all their material possessions.
However, once you have received knowledge from your education, it will remain imprinted in your mind, and nothing will be able to remove it.
It is against this backdrop that I would like to share my column this week.
This is the time of year we are celebrating graduations from both high school and college, which are very important events in the lives of the graduates, but also in the lives of those who will attend those events.
It is about setting an example for the youngest among us.
For instance, once you set a goal, even through various adversities, graduations represent what can happen if you stick to achieving your goals.
Anyone who has gone to college, or graduated from high school, can probably attest to the fact that there were some difficult tests they may have taken, grades that were worse than expected, or plans that needed to be changed in some way.
However, through it all, perseverance and faithfulness likely helped to provide them with the fuel to get to that commencement ceremony.
And, when young children see this example, it can leave an indelible mark in their hearts and minds to follow suit, and achieve similar goals in their own lives.
Even adults who may not have received a high school diploma, or may not have gone to college may see a family member or friend graduate, and reignite a new desire to fulfill their dreams from the past.
Seeing someone receive a diploma or a degree for a job well-done can be inspiring, and may have far-reaching impact on many people for years to come.
In fact, the word “commencement” actually refers to the beginning of something, whereas we typically connect it to the end.
Therein lies the reason for our need to celebrate graduations.
While the coursework to obtain the diploma or degree has been completed, it is the symbolism of giving one the permission to begin something new that is most important.
Whether the graduate decides to go on to college, or to begin a career, or go to graduate school upon the receipt of his or her degree, without the completion of one goal, the beginning of a new path would not occur.
So, I would encourage everyone, whether they believe they’ve done a good enough job or not, to “walk across the stage,” if they’ve finished the required coursework.
This is an acknowledgement to the world that you’ve reached your goal, and that you’ve been granted the permission to move on to the next level.
No one should despise that accomplishment, or refuse an opportunity to set an example for young students, and older students alike.
As I close my column this week, I would like to offer a simple prayer for 2018 graduates.
“God bless the class of 2018, and I pray they prosper in their God-given purposes, and continue to be an example of perseverance and accomplishment for the rest of their lives!” Let’s be sure to celebrate all of the graduates!”
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