By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing writer, B&R
Across our state, high schools and colleges are planning graduation ceremonies. As the band plays “Pomp and Circumstance,” graduates will march down the aisle and take their place in a group of other young people. Those who have been together for years will soon go separate ways.
In honoring these students, do you often wonder what gift you can give that will be one of lasting value? Or, perhaps graduation is over and your thoughts linger as to how you can stay in touch. What present can you bestow that shows how much you care? If you’re a parent, a relative, or simply a friend, there are ways to show your love in intangible ways. Long after the ribbon and fancy paper are gone, the graduate will cherish these gifts.
The gift of encouragement. A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success” (author unknown). Look for positive expressions to say — words that will build up — instead of destroying; words that bring sunshine, rather than clouds.
The Gift of Friendship. In a quote from John Wooden, he said, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” Friendship is a gift we give freely.
Friends are to be shared. Are there friends in your church, business or community that could make a difference in the life of students? Could a letter of recommendation help a student find a job? What about applying for a college scholarship? Often a letter of introduction opens the door to new opportunities.
When offering friendship, I’m reminded of the quote by Nelson Henderson, “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not plan to sit.”
The gift of advice. There are times when we have to move on. To go to plan “B” or to step back and go a different direction. The advice we give students must be based on high moral principles, integrity and wisdom.
The gift of prayer. For the graduate, change is coming. They must be ready for the next step in education, building a career, relocating to a new community, and for some, starting a family. It’s been said, “Still waters never reach the sea.” As new opportunities and experiences enter their life, pray daily for the student. Pray that the choices they make will be ones pleasing to God and of service to others. James 1:17 (NIV) tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father ….”
But whatever gift you choose, honor the occasion. Make this a joyous time of celebration for family and friends. B&R — Tomlin, of Jackson, is co-author of The Secret Holocaust Diaries: The Untold Story of Nonna Bannister, published by Tyndale. The book is available on Amazon and Kindle.