It is the graduating season again! There are graduations at all levels taking place and will be taking place in the next month; from preschool all the way to university level. Congratulations to all.
It is a time of congratulations, proud parents and family, happiness, joy and laughter for the graduates, however there is also trepidation for some as they recognise it is time to go out and take their place in the big wide world! It is a time for speeches and encouraging words. And here I draw upon my letters to my nephew Pat and niece, Maralie, who graduated from Law School and High School, respectively:
CONGRATULATIONS!!! For the high school graduates, this is the first of your major graduations, and this is why it is so important. As the saying goes, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” That first step signals that you are ready to embrace the other pathways that will lead to your dreams and to the other major graduations and milestones.
What do I want to say to you? I want to leave with you some of the lessons and values I was taught by my family that has kept and served me well. Your name is the only thing that you leave this world with, so do nothing that will bring you and your name to disrepute. My father would often say to us, that it was not our name but his that he bestowed on us, so we had to guard it well! In guiding you to uphold this position, the litmus test is to refrain from anything that you would be ashamed of or would bring shame to you and your family if others knew about it. This leads you to appreciate that it is your content of character that matters most. You are a leader and not a follower; so don’t go doing things just because others are doing it. Be prepared to stand alone and on your own, for the things that are dear to you. Be your own person and don’t be swayed by popular things and people in doing things that do not edify you and those whose lives you touch.
You are to seek and listen to counsel, however you are to use it to make the decision that is right for your life. As you continue your journey of life, there will be those, who love, care, support and protect you, and there will be detractors. Don’t pay too much attention to your detractors; remain focused on your goals and journey. However, listen and sift what they say, for there may be some nuggets of wisdom and truth in what they say. Take those nuggets of wisdom and truth and use them to your good, and let go of the negative things that serve no useful purpose.
We did not come to this world alone, contrary to popular belief and saying. It took two persons for us to be conceived, a mother to incubate us for nine months, doctors and midwives to receive us along with other cheering and happy family members eager for our entry into this world. And even if your entry were not heralded with great joy and fanfare, you were born and you are here! This means that you are to always be thankful and appreciative of the people in your live. A thankful, appreciative heart cannot be depressed; cannot give rise to a negative attitude. A thankful, appreciative heart results in a positive attitude and a willingness and eagerness to give back. You are to be your “brothers’ and sisters’ keeper”. We impact people even without knowing it at times, so ensure that your encounter with others is positive. Be a bright shining light, be a rainbow of hope to others.
Be generous with your time, talent and treasure. However, be prudent with your finances and spending. It is not so much how much you earn, but how much you spend, which determines how much you can save and build wealth. Financial independence is the cornerstone of true independence.
Know that your family is always there for you, loving, caring, supporting in good and challenging times. They are there to share your joys and lighten your load! They are happy and proud of you and there is so much joy as they share this special moment with you. Your family loves you unconditionally and they have made the sacrifices for you freely and willingly, and there is “no charge,” for their love. They may not be happy with some of your decisions and actions however they will always love and support you and focus instead on the love behind the action. I want you to never take that love for granted. You are to return that love in double portions! And as your journey of life continues and takes you to new paths and successes; do not forget them; do not lose contact. In today’s world staying in touch is so much easier and cheaper. For me, I sustain myself with the love of my family, my rock and the wind beneath my wings.
This message would not be complete without an exhortation to keep God as and at the centre of your life. Everything you are and have comes from God and you need to always acknowledge His presence in your life. As Proverbs 3:6 advises, “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.” With God, all things are possible. It does not mean that you get everything you want, and that there are no worries and pain. It means that you will always have what you need and that you will overcome all heartaches and pain. Three quotes; my favourite, “The finger of God never points where He has not yet laid the way,” and the popular ones, “God will never bring you and leave you,” and “God’s Grace is sufficient for you,” have kept me grounded and secure that I can go boldly in the pursuit of my dreams and on the journey of life, I pass them on to you and pray that they too will serve as sustenance for your soul and an anchor of faith, hope and love for your life.
As I take my leave, I Congratulate You again! I wish you God’s continued Blessings, Guidance and Protection. I pray God continues to watch over you, bestow on you His wisdom, understanding, discernment, peace that surpasses all understanding, enlarge your territory while holding you in the Palm of His Hands. May He always be a Light unto Your Path and a Lamp for Your Feet.
Your entire family joins with me to say Hip! Hip! Hooray! You’ve Done It! You Are on Your Way to a Bright, Prosperous and Happy Future! Go Godward; He Has Already Laid the Path!!
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 767 449 9649.
Until we meet again, may the Lord continue to Keep Us in the Palm of His Hands.