Graduation (and Speakers) Changes

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

One of the exciting ceremonies of the spring of the year is graduation when students are recognized for academic achievement.  These occur from kindergarten through graduate schools.

Graduations have been in the news this year.  Some people were invited to speak at graduations, and then those invitations were revoked.  That has been an interesting phenomenon.  I felt pretty good because I was invited to give the graduation address at Oakland City University in Indiana to the college graduating seniors on a Saturday morning and the graduate school students in the afternoon.  They invited me, and did not disinvite me.  I felt like I had accomplished something!

I believe in graduation.  I have degrees from several different institutions.  Someone said you have to be careful today so you don’t “die by degrees.”  There was some interesting news on graduation this spring.

In May a New York school canceled its annual year-end kindergarten performance “because the kids have to keep working so they will be college and career ready.”  That is part of a letter from the principal at Harley Avenue Primary School in Elwood, N.Y.

Of course you would know that the school got a lot of flak from the parents and friends.  Over 2,000 people signed a petition to reinstate the tradition of the graduation.  The school district defended the decision by saying that the graduation preparation “requires multiple days away from classroom work and is not the best use of the limited time we have with our youngest learners.”

Can you imagine that?  Kindergarteners’ preparation for college and career overrode a traditional ceremony!  Isn’t there more to education than simply “classroom days for kindergarteners!”

What is most important in education?  Jessie White was supposed to graduate from college in 1939, but she couldn’t afford a $5 transcript fee.  Imagine that – doing the college work, but $5 kept her from a diploma.  She joined the Marines.   Today she is 99-years-old, and last month received her diploma during a ceremony hosted by Dr. Alan Stehle the president of Beal College at Bangor.

How many degrees we have doesn’t determine how educated we are.  Wisdom is more than just a diploma!

The Bible speaks about Solomon and how his wisdom came from knowing God. It says, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore…Solomon’s wisdom surpassed all the wisdom of Egypt.”  (I Kings 4:29, 30) “All the earth was seeking to hear the wisdom God had put in Solomon’s heart.”  (I Kings 10:24)

How wise are you?

Graduation didn’t make Solomon wise – God did!

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