It’s a familiar scene. Rows of mortarboard hats, jumbled together and jostling one another in excitement. Rows of proud family and friends, equipped with cameras, cards and flowers, celebrate exuberantly. Smiles can be seen as far as the eye can see.
High school graduation has become a coming of age ceremony in our culture. It represents a step over the boundary that separates childhood, conformity, and dependence from adulthood, identity, and independence. Even though you have merely progressed from grade to grade for the past 12 or 13 years, there is no longer a set path. At the point of graduation, you are expected to make the next step.
Standing on the precipice of decision at such a point can be scary. What if you make a wrong decision? What if you go to the wrong school or pick the wrong major or can’t get a job?
It may be easier to see graduation as a “graduated” part of life. Just like any other day in life, it is a day to grow, a day to learn, and a day to just be the person God made you to be.
The speeches that will be made at the graduation ceremonies will be about living your dreams, reaching for the stars, following your heart, meeting challenges, achieving your goals, soaring to the heavens, never giving up, making your wishes come true, and taking chances along the way. Even if the overly optimistic sentiments seem to sugarcoat the idea of life as experienced adults may know it, there is something in these messages that we need to grab hold of and hang on to, no matter what season of life we are in.
So many people lose sight of the possibilities life has to offer. At one point or another, they’ve gotten caught up in the burdens of life and have forgotten passions they once had and the relationships and activities that brought them joy. They lose the dreams they once drew about and wrote about as young children. In trying to “just get by” in life, they’ve lost a piece of themselves.
Graduation is also known as commencement, which means beginning. Whether your graduation marks years of hard work, or merely a stepping stone in life, it is a new beginning. Even if this isn’t your year, when you hear a commencement speech, or buy a graduation card, think about what your commencement is going to be this year. Why should the graduates have all the fun?