Faithfully yours - Lessons learned after grad


By Neil Strohschein

Neepawa Banner & Press

have never been asked to be the guest speaker at a graduation ceremony. That’s probably just as well, because I really don’t know what I would say that hasn’t already been said many times.

Most grad speeches contain the same material; congratulations to the grads on their achievement (much deserved), gratitude to the parents and teachers for their support while their children were in public school (also much deserved), and words of assurance, telling the grads that there is no limit to the things they can do if they set high goals and work hard to achieve them.

Now there is nothing wrong with the above words. The commendations to grads, parents and teachers are well deserved. The best wishes for the future are heart-felt and sincere.

But I would like the speakers to share some lessons they learned after they graduated from high school—lessons like the ones I share below—lessons I learned after my high school graduation.

First, the diploma you’re handed isn’t what you think it is. True, it does recognize your high school achievement. But it also enrolls you in the School of Life. This is the school in which you will learn about life by living it. You will take initiatives. Some will work out well. Some won’t. If you are wise (and I hope and pray you will be), you will learn from the mistakes you make and resolve not to repeat them. This will continue until the day you die.

Second, as each day unfolds, you will do two things. You will build on what you achieved the previous day and you will lay a foundation for what you will do tomorrow. Everything you think, every word you speak and every task you complete will determine the quality of your building and the strength of your foundation. So guard your mind carefully. Fill it with positive thoughts that will produce encouraging words and actions that will help create a better world.

Third, there is nothing wrong with abandoning dreams that have become nightmares. Let’s be honest. This can happen. That perfect relationship you have with your high school sweetheart can go sour. Your perfect job might not be as perfect as you thought it would be. After a year in university, you might decide that you’re not cut out for that kind of training or all that excited about the job prospects after you graduate. That’s fine. You can let those dreams die.

You can take comfort in knowing that those experiences were not in vain; nor was going through them a waste of time. They were the best things that could have happened to you. They were God’s way of guiding you to the places where he wants you to be and surrounding you with the people he has chosen to help you complete the work he put you on this earth to do.

So, as you begin each new day, I hope you will resolve to be your best and to do your best; no matter where you are or what you may be asked to do. Your commitment to excellence will be noted. Your attention to detail will be appreciated. The pleasant attitude you show in dealing with others will earn you the respect of those around you.

Life won’t always be fair. You will face discouragement and disappointment along the way. But you will not face them alone. God will be with you to help you stand tall, be strong and make the most of each new day.