Graduation…a season of emotions…a season of closure and new chapters ahead. The uniqueness of the month of May adds to its temper. Graduations affect us all, in some way. We sense the energy.
Graduation…for students it’s the conclusion of a unique period, the only life they have mostly known so far. It’s a season of memories — successes and failures, victories and defeat, sweetness and regret. A season of hope. Fear, too. What will the future bring? How will relationships shape up from here on? What opportunities will present themselves?
All around this continent, graduation exercises are being held (in Canada a bit later than the U.S.). Auditoriums are noisily filling up. Parents are there, as are relatives and interested members of the communities, their hearts filled with thoughts, memories and concerns. Teachers, too, neatly marching in, conscious of being watched. They sense relief, some weeks of rest ahead. And school board members are there, from now on their meetings fewer with the summer season ahead. And then the students come in. Their faces radiating emotions of fun and fulfillment, now being the center of attention. And there is the graduation speaker. He (she?) senses the discomfort of one question: will my speech cut it? And there is the janitor who hopes that these people will be merciful to the facility. A group of volunteer fathers has arranged for coffee and cake to add a festive dimension to the events. (No, sorry, the volunteers are mothers).
Graduation exercises are hardly a suitable setting to ponder on educational ideals. But graduation stands as an exclamation point at the conclusion of another year, how can it be avoided? Value systems enter in. So, thoughts multiply. What has education done to these students? And at the conclusion of the academic year there are practical concerns that students and parents face. During the weeks and months ahead they will think of ideals, possibilities, means, and resources. Trusted relationships will fade away. Student loans and debts need to be considered. Possible jobs need to be pursued. Further educational possibilities to be examined. What will the future bring for these kids?
Communities face related problems. Christian schools are not growing. People of vision and strength have again given sacrificially to make education possible for another year. Rising costs are a worrisome reality. Christian education ought to be seen as a most worthy segment of broader Kingdom enterprise and, therefore, ought to be supported by believers regardless whether they seek that education for their children or not. Public schools, too, need our concern. Society cannot thrive without a responsible level of education all the way around. Christians, as well as non-Christians, need to cooperate in finding standards of excellence for all the schools in the land. In the meantime, our Christian schools would gladly welcome the support of those who are not part of their system. “Carry each other’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Gal 6:2).