Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, graduation is: “the award or acceptance of an academic degree or diploma.” However this is not the principle definition. The primary meaning is: “a mark on an instrument or vessel indicating degrees or quantity.” For those of us whose children are soon to receive their diploma, its secondary meaning comes to the fore of our minds. We are proud parents! Our kids have worked diligently to reach this moment of achievement, and so have we as their support team. But now comes the hard part for our students: the transition.
That’s where the primary definition comes into play. Graduation is not the end goal. It’s merely “a mark on a vessel.” That vessel just happens to be our child. The big question is “what has/will mark our graduating students? Sadly, I occasionally receive prayer requests from parents who inform me that their child who entered college with a love for Jesus, has exited college renouncing his or her faith in Him. Of course, all is not lost. The gospel story is still being written on the hearts of many of us who have strayed from our faith. That’s my story. I rebelled against the church and God during my four years of undergraduate studies and well into my early thirties. It was not until my personal life began to unravel that I truly got on track with my faith.
Twenty-five years later with three kids in college, I am thankful that the Lord has “marked” me to work with graduate students and faculty at my alma mater. I am fully aware of the competing worldviews on campus that can shipwreck our children’s spiritual journeys. And I am thankful that He has commissioned me to help my kids, your kids, and other’s to receive His mark on their hearts and souls. I look forward to attending commencement ceremonies, but I am more excited to hear about how Jesus has transitioned our grads into their next phase of life.