Graduation and life lessons

Billionaire Robert F. Smith promised to pay off the college debt of 400 seniors at Morehouse College, Atlanta, amounting to $40. million dollars. All he asked in return was that they pay it forward. 

I shared this lesson on generosity with a Graduating class I addressed recently. I suggested that this was the fellow they should have asked to speak at their graduation. 

We shared Acts 3:1-10 where Peter and John were going to the temple and met the lame man asking for help. Peter said, “I have neither silver nor gold. But I will give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”

I suggested that the churches in Canora had something greater to offer than money. Our prayer support will continue throughout their lives. And the exciting life Peter and John had, we too can have. God is calling all of us to serve as his disciples. 

I shared this story: Timmy’s mother asked her neighbour Shirley Goodnest if she would follow him at a distance on his first days at school. Shirley agreed, since she went walking with her toddler anyway.

Later Timmy’s mother asked him how he enjoyed walking to school alone. “Well I’m not really alone,” he said. “Shirley Goodnest and her daughter are following me everyday.”

“Does that bother you,” asked the mother?
“No,” said Timmy. “It says in the bible ‘Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow you all the days of your life.’ And I might as well get used to it.”

“The prayer and support of your teachers, clergy, neighbours, and parents will continue through your life’s journey. GET USED TO IT!” I told them. God has also given us angels to be with us constantly. And God does not have any bad days. Think about that in a travel companion!

Daily introspection and prayer assist us on our journey. A Zen proverb says, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” 

My little checklist of advice to the Grads included: DON’T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS. Sometimes they are fulfilled later in your life, God willing! Sometimes God comes up with a better plan.

A man walks into a doctor’s office with a carrot stuck in his ear and an asparagus spear dangling from his nostril. “Doctor, I feel terrible,” he says. What’s wrong with me?” “I’m not sure,” says the doctor, “but I can tell you’re not eating right.” 

Feed your spirit right! Never forget your family, your church, your teachers, your community and the values they have imparted to you. Continue nourishing your spiritual roots, your values.

BE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR INNER BEAUTY. We get more beautiful as we get older. Just look at your parents and grandparents. 

A little boy was feeling down about his freckles. Grandma came to the rescue. “I like freckles,” she said. “Why, tell me one thing that is more beautiful than freckles.” The boy looked at his grandmother for a moment and said, “I know one thing more beautiful, Grandma, wrinkles.” 

I shared a few inspirational quotes:
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
If you pursue your passionate interests and make a career of them, you may never have to work a day in your life.

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By Ken Rolheiser