Graduates should look to make difference

Published 5:31 pm Saturday, May 16, 2015

It’s hard to imagine that I graduated from high school 44 years ago. I remember the evening well.  It was my 18th birthday and it was very hot that June evening in Pensacola, Fla.

Marching ahead to the present, the graduating class of 2015 is just as full of energy and excitement as we were back then.

I enjoy listening to these grads talk about their future. Some are planning on going to college while others want to find a job or attend trade school. The military is in the future for some as well. Many are talking about marriage but all are talking about the future. Most want to be successful in their field of endeavor.

I just encourage them to make a difference in their little corner of the world by finding a way to give back to their community. The pastor in me always encourages them to remain a Christian, stay involved in church, and be a friend.
I would like to share four things with the class of 2015. If they would keep them in mind, the future can be the best God can give them.

First of all, concentrate on one main goal. If you are going to put a lot of energy into something, make sure that it is worth your while. It is a sad commentary on someone’s life to hear them say, “It wasn’t worth it.” It’s like spending your whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find out that you are leaning against the wrong wall. Whether you are in school or on the job, focus on doing the best you can.

Secondly, concentrate on constant improvement.  Recognize that you are not where you want to be.  Accept the fact that you don’t know everything.  Don’t complain about where you are now. The future is full of opportunity if you focus on constant improvement.

Determine to be a lifelong learner. Some of these graduates will go on to earn multiple degrees.  Others will learn through the “school of hard knocks.” I love to read. As long as we continue to read, we will never cease to learn.

Life is dynamic. It does not stand still. We are either progressing forward or sliding backward. Complacency is a horrible state of affairs. The successful members of the class of 2015 will concentrate on constant improvement.

Thirdly, forget about the failures of the past.  I’m not suggesting that you block them from your memory, rather; learn from them with a determination not to repeat those same mistakes again.

I’m not suggesting that you build a “trophy case” of your successes either. This is not a time to gloat about your accomplishments.

Work at forgetting your past mistakes. Some people can’t get by the remorse and shame of saying, “If I had only done it that way.” Few things in life will plague us any worse than guilt.

That leads us to our fourth point, focus on your goals. Runners seldom win if they keep looking over their shoulders to see how close other runners are to them.

Don’t be afraid to set some goals. If you are going on to college or technical school, be determined to finish. As the old saying goes, Quitters never win and winner never quit.”

I’m excited about the graduating class of 2015. I pray that God will bless them in all the endeavors of their lives.
Above all, keep your relationship with Jesus Christ at the center of it all. In doing so, life will be “Simply Beautiful!”