Most of us can vividly recall what it was like to graduate from high school and college. We felt a soothing sense of accomplishment. Our parents were filled with gratitude and pride. They felt like some relief might be on the way. The educational process is more expensive than ever.
When I started to college, my Dad and Mom owned 44 acres of land. Marie, “Whitey” and I were graduated from Anderson University, Anderson, Indiana. I started first, then Marie and by the time “Whitey” completed his college work, our parents owned 10 acres.
A neighboring businessman asked Dad why he sold the property a few acres at a time. Dad’s simple reply was, “I have three children who need to be college graduates.” Our parents worked hard and sacrificed much to make sure we had what they always wanted, but were denied. Both completed the eighth grade and became life-long students and learners.
When I was in the fourth grade, my Dad worked for the Carbon Fuel Coal Company where we lived at Wevaco, WV, at the head of Cabin Creek. Margaret Sammons was my teacher. Her dad was a mine foreman for the Truax Trayer Coal Company at United, WV. Dad made it very plain, “If you do not go to college, you will have to work in the coal mines and you are not working in the mines.” Dad said it and that settled it.
During my sophomore and junior years, I rode the school bus 21 miles each way to East Bank High School. Part of that time, I got up at five each morning, delivered the Charleston Gazette newspaper to more than 50 customers and was ready to get on the school bus at 7:00 a.m. – arrived back home at about 4:00 each evening.
Once I started on the college and graduate school trek, it lasted 12 full years working from the very first semester to help all I could. My parents were my finest teachers and best examples.
One of my greatest satisfactions is to see others prepare themselves for significant service. I have watched many, including our own two children, from their first day until college graduation and beyond.
On Friday night of this week, Kitty and I were in Albertville, Alabama, for the high school graduation of our third and youngest granddaughter. Megan is a beautiful young lady of many talents and abilities. We are proud of her, her sisters and brother and especially her parents.
I hear many complaints about high schools and colleges these days. It seems to all boil down to the fact that a large percentage of students never do more than about 50 percent of what they are capable of doing. They have become too dependent on computers and postpone using their minds until another day, in the future. We pay, all of us, such a high price for education not to get the most out of it.
Years ago, Joseph Addison, called education “A companion which no misfortune can depress.” There may be exceptions, but this is generally true.
Edward Everett called education “A better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” Herbert Kaufman called it “A chest of tools.” Education and Christianity are indispensable for a free, prosperous and moral civilization.
The greatest of all books plainly states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;” (Psalm 111:10) and it adds, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7).
If you want to know and understand, start at the beginning – “In the beginning God . . .” (Genesis 1:1). That is the key to learning the truth and enjoying it in creative and constructive ways.