The Paper Pulpit
Millions of young people are currently graduating from high school. What lies ahead for them? And how do they prepare for it? If you are graduating this year, I encourage you to ask yourself the following three questions:
What do I want out of life? Many people go for decades and never have a particular destination in mind. Your greatest danger is not that you will aim too high and miss it; it is that you will aim too low and hit it. Christopher Columbus discovered America by accident. Someone waggishly said, “When he arrived on our shores he didn’t know where he was; when he got back home he wasn’t certain where he had been — and he did it all by using somebody else’s money.” If he were citizen of our country today, he could possibly be a candidate for the U.S. Congress.
If you, as a high school graduate, are to arrive at a worthy destination, you must first know where you have been, and where you are. Though you should not live in the past, it will always be a part of who you are. Your parents, teachers and others helped to develop you into the person you have become. The time will come in your life, when you realize that the teachers who made you work the hardest, who wouldn’t let you goof off, were your best teachers — though you may not believe that now. It may be only after you are married and have children of your own that you realize how much your parents have sacrificed to bring you to the day when you can graduate from high school.
Am I willing to wait for success in its own time? It is so easy to want what you want immediately — if not sooner! Our world is full of people who want success but are not willing to wait for it, or to work for it. As one who is beyond 80 years of age, may I suggest the following to you: (1) Set worthy and reachable goals; (2) Work diligently to achieve them; (3) and be patient — your time will come.
Proper goals, combined with patience and hard work, produce results that are lasting in nature. Always maintain integrity, and respect the integrity of others. If you keep your body for the one with whom you one day decide to spend a lifetime, you will not regret it. God’s way is better than the world’s way.
Am I capable of making important decisions? Until now you have had the guidance and assistance of your parents, your teachers and others. You may be looking forward to getting away from home where you don’t have to be home by a certain time, pick up your clothes, cut the grass or do other chores around the house. When you leave home to enroll in college or other training schools, for the first time in your life you will be responsible for yourself. It is reported that an anxious mother, hovering outside her son’s door on his last night at home, overheard him as he prayed, “Goodbye, God, I’m going to college.” God is as available on a college campus as He is anywhere else in the world.
Ernest Hemingway, in From Success, wrote these meaningful words:
“We have not wings, we cannot soar,
But we have feet to scale and climb
By slow degrees, by more and more,
The cloudy summits of our time.
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”
The Rev. D.E. Parkerson is retired pastor of First Baptist Church of Sanford.