Late May and early June is the season for graduation. Whether it is the close of a college or high school career, family and friends gather to celebrate the end of one chapter of a student’s life and the beginning of another. And in the Woodall household, we joined in this spring ritual to celebrate the end of Jason’s high school studies. Because the school he attended is a supplemental co-op for homeschoolers, the ceremony is quite different from the normal graduation exercises. Instead of listening to a stream of guest speakers and watching hundreds of kids filing quickly across the stage to be handed a diploma by the director of school, at our school the parents of each graduate are afforded time to express their thoughts and then present the diploma. It is an impacting experience to hear homeschooling parents speak emotion-filled blessings over the child they have invested so many years to educate and raise.
Since there’s only time for one parent to speak, Clif and I agreed that I would share my thoughts when our girls graduate, and he would speak to our boys. So, since child number three is male, Clif took the microphone to speak to Jason last Friday. It may have been easier to just take the words he spoke to our oldest son a few years ago and just change them a little, but that would have been a great disservice to this important moment in Jason’s life. Instead, Clif chose to highlight Jason’s unique gifts and strengths in the context of presenting him an antique watch from my father’s collection. I thought his comments were a good reminder of our own uniqueness to our Heavenly Father and so I made room to share some of his thoughts here.
While they were spoken directly to our son, all believers can be reminded of the intricate and delicate balance it takes to live a life dedicated to the Lord. I hope you will find personal encouragement somewhere in his words that will spur you on in your journey toward growing up in Christ. (Eph 4:15)
It’s become something of a tradition to present an antique pocket watch to my sons upon their graduation from high school.
The seeds of this were planted over 2 decades ago when my father-in-law gave me a watch for Christmas, an antique Hamilton railroad special, and that’s the same model that I gave to my oldest son.
But when I chose this Elgin watch, something about it spoke to me. It’s different from mine or Ryan’s, and like you, it’s unique. Let it remind you to resist the pressure to be like everyone else and strive instead to discover and be who God created you to be.
And if you look closely at this watch, it has a lot of lessons to teach about life. The movement is perfectly balanced. Whether it be school, home, work or play, letting any one thing dominate your life will interrupt your stability. Like this watch, strive to find balance in your life.
A previous owner cut away some of the internal metal and gave it a clear case so you could see the intricate workings. You have always been transparent and honest. Choose to stay that way, remembering that no matter where you go, or what you do, God can always see your heart.
To keep a watch -or a heart- running well, it must be kept clean. Always be willing to examine yourself in light of God’s Word, and guard your heart for from it flows the springs of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
A watch like this needs regular attention to keep it wound and accurate. In the same way, you can be sure your life choices will be accurate by patterning them according to the instruction of the scriptures.
As a watch counts the passage of time, always remember that a man’s days are numbered so make wise choices as you move into this new chapter of your life.
But above all, remember that life, like this watch, is rare and very fragile. Handle it with care!
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.