Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Last Consequence of Learning: A Letter to Graduates of the Class of 2013

Dear Graduates,

You, and your parents, have accomplished something worth recognizing.

You have achieved, or maybe you would prefer to say survived, a high school education. You now have a basic knowledge of what you need for life, mathematics, science, reading and writing, current events, history, civics, a decent appreciation for literature and the arts, and, most importantly, a relationship with God.

You are about to move forward to into the world and take the next step in a life seeking to do what God has for you. But before you do that there is one last topic we need to cover.

Your parents know this, but it is very possible that you do not.  It is that there are consequences to learning.

Knowledge and the ability to learn are resources, talents as it were, that are given to us from God.  He expects us to use them, and that comes out in three ways.

The first is that learning must change you. If learning doesn’t change the way you live, then it is pointless. I would encourage you to take the time to think through the truth that the subjects you learned have taught.

When you studied history you met people capable of both great evil and great kindness. You learned that life is valuable and that vigilance is necessary to restrain evil.

When you studied mathematics, you found a world that, though fallen, has order and rules, set down by our Creator.

When you studied science you learned that our world and our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

When you studied current events you discovered there actually isn’t anything new under the sun, just new ways to do things. 

When you studied civics you discovered nations only last when people take responsibility for their government.  Just as you must do in ours.

When you learned to read you learned to travel to places, worlds, and times beyond our own.

When you learned to write and speak you learned how to tell people about those places, worlds, and times, and how to inspire them to go on that same journey with you. 

As a result, we are responsible for using the knowledge we have gained. If we do not it is a waste of the time and effort in the learning. 

This is not a negative consequence, this is the privilege and duty that all who know truth must carry. 

The second consequence is that, as those who have learned what is true, you have a solemn duty to share it with the world around you.

You are being placed into a time in history that is ripe for change. Our society is fractured. Political partisanship, competing ideologies, divergent understanding of truth, and competing faiths tear away at us. The nation we live in is looking for guiding principles to direct its action and for men and women willing to serve it through leadership.

Parts of our nation will reject that truth, they will reject our God and they will reject you, but that is not why we act.  We have been given a sacred trust by God to share the truth He entrusted us with to our nation and our world. 

Your parents and your education have armed you with these divine truths. 

The truth that life is a gift from God and worthy of protection and reverence.

The truth that rights come from God and not government, government is to defend those rights, but does not grant them.

The truth that all are men are equal before God and the law, and that our Lord commands us to seek justice.

The truth that each of us are fallen humans, prone to fail, and that we are commanded to show mercy to each other.

Micah 6:8 says it best

"He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God."

As homeschool graduates you are uniquely suited to do that.  It is my privilege to help train over ten thousand high school students each year.  As my team and I work to equip them to change the world, we are consistently impressed by the skills, academic accomplishments, and hard work that they achieve.  You have been given an education that is one of the best in the nation, and I see it demonstrated in the thousands of homeschoolers I meet each year.   I know of no other group better prepared to change the world around them.

My world has been one of striking contrast the last few days.  Two days ago I was standing in Arlington Cemetery at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with 96 World War II veterans from my home town of Spokane, Washington.  They were part of the Honor Flight, and organization dedicated to ensuring that each of the veterans of World War II are honored with a trip to our nation’s capital to see the monuments, memorials, and tributes raised in their honor.  As their generation closes, it is a privilege to learn from them, listen to them, and marvel at the quiet courage that made a generation of humble Americans heroes to the rest of the world.

It is said that my grandfather’s generation brought hope to the entire world with 4 simple words.  “The Americans are coming.”

Societies, towns, nations and peoples persevered through unimaginable hardships and agonizing totalitarian brutality because of on one simple hope – the Americans are coming. 

It was a hope that changed the world.  The idea that a group of people were dedicated to being liberators – people who defended the innocent, opposed tyranny, honored God, and loved each other. 

Our nation and our world needs that today.   

The final consequence of learning is that, when you have truth, you are responsible to make sure that you pass it on. 

Our nation needs not only yet another generation willing to stand up for what is right, but it needs one, like you parents’ generation, that is willing to not only make sure that they can defend it but future generation can as well. 

You have the vast majority of your life ahead of you,  You may go to college, get married, become fathers and mothers, be doctors, lawyers, pastors, statesman, professors, senators, or even president. 

But remember this, the job you hold and the title you wear are meaningless unless the truth you know changes you, changes your world, and is passed on to the next generation.

This life I challenge you to live is not easy. It will take sacrifice, and it is not safe.  But it is good. Our King has called us to it and I have no doubt that you will honor his trust in you.

God bless you graduates!

By Joel Grewe

No comments:

Post a Comment