A Graduation Speech for Taylor

Tomorrow Taylor will be graduating from Kingsfork High School.  Her life started out rough 18 years ago- needing two major surgeries in the first 6 months of her life- but is now turning out glorious as she sails off into college.  I thought I would write her an open letter today on the blog.

Taylor, as you get ready to set sail I have my own graduation speech for you.  Its two pieces of fatherly advice that you have heard me say before, but I believe is worth repeating on this special weekend.

The first piece of advice I want to give you is to always pause and think before making many of the decisions you’ll have to make down the road.  Always ask yourself, “In light of where I have been, where I am going, and where I want to end up, what is the wise thing to do?”  You know that’s my favorite question to ask.  It’s so much better than, “What is the right thing to do?”  Many times you have many “right” things to do so how do you choose which “right” thing to do?  You ask, “What is the wise thing to do?”

The Bible tells us that we need to pursue wisdom.  Proverbs 3:12 says, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”  Wisdom will set you up for success later in life and it will reveal to you the knowledge of God.

The Bible also says to use wisdom to get the most out of life.  Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “Be very careful then how you live- not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”  You may not realize it yet but you are entering into a stage of life with so many opportunities on so many levels, socially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, to name a few.  Choose your opportunities wisely and then make the most of them.  That way, when you are in your mid-forties like me, you can look back on your life and see little shame and little regret.  This is the incredible gift of wisdom.  When you live by it your life has little luggage to weigh you down.

The second piece of advice I’d like to give you to make your decisions with an eye to your future 20, 30 years down the road.  Don’t always think just here and now.  Trust me.  You will be so far ahead everyone else if you do this.  Ask this question, “What story do you want to tell?”  For me (and for you) my college days are now just a bunch of stories I tell (and have told you probably too many times).  I’ve told you the stories on how me and your Mom met (Did you feel the mountains tremble?) and how I got stuck in a hole in the ground.  They are great memories and great stories! For me anyway!  LOL

What stories do you want to tell about your college days and beyond?  What do you want to tell your children and future friends?  What story do you want to tell about your twenty-somethings?  Do you want them to be full of adventure?  Do you want to talk about being a person that was honest, true to her friends, and devoted to her faith?  Those are the stories I pray for you to have, but what stoy do you want to tell?

One day all the experiences you have will be stories that you will have in your heart (Just like your high school days are turning into stories you are telling others now).

Sometimes those stories are ones you want to keep to yourself.  You can have shameful stories, even embarrassing ones.  You can also great stories to tell.  Stories of laughter, good friends, good times, and smart decisions.

The good news is you are the author of your novel.  It is a gift from God.  Write an awesome book!  Understand, there are no rewrites when it comes to your history.

With that said always know your heavenly Father loves you so very much.  He sent his one and only Son to die for you on the cross.  You will make mistakes.  You will do things that offend God and violate his holiness.  Always know that his healing grace and forgiveness is there.  The Bible says that when we confess our sins God is faithful to forgive us.

I remember when you were 12 sitting with you in a McDonald’s on vacation having breakfast together (you actually got up early back then) and I said to you, “You are entering a stage of life where Dad will not be able to know what you are doing all the time.  You will be able to pull one on me if you wanted to.  You are going to have to make some wise decisions on your own.  When you make those decisions remember the kind of person you want to be and what God is calling you to become.”  You just smiled with smile that said, “It’s that Dad talk again.”

But you know what you’ve done pretty good with your High School years.  You’ve done a good job at making decisions.  You’ve picked great friends and your influence on others is stupendous.  I am so really, really proud of you. I am so impressed with you. I just want to let you know that I have complete confidence in you as you enter into your college life.  I certainly trust that you will live your life with wisdom and that you will have some incredible stories to tell when it is all said and done.  Most of all, I trust that you will trust God more than me as you make the next move in your life

I love you,

Dad

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