The George Bragg Library
. . . from the "Director's Diary"
On Embarking on the Sea of Life (September 1974)
At the beginning of this past summer I went to the high school graduation of a very good friend of mine, Mr. Steve Miller of Victoria, Texas, whom some of you know and will remember as having studied a few summers with us. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.O. Miller, are part of my "family," having been included many years ago, after spending quite a while teaching academics through the Calvert method to their twin sons, Jackie and Danny.
What I heard on that evening of the Victoria High School's Senior graduation shocked and yet delighted me in a way, for all of the platitudes one usually hears were absent from the Baccalaureate address delivered by the Rev. Joseph Helms of the Baptist Temple Church.
I hope you will find interest in what he advised these young people "embarking on the sea of life."
You're graduated! Almost! Bang goes the door, and now you find that
you are wide awake and on the other side. You must bid farewell to your
innocent adolescence. Every adult here welcomes you to the fellowship
of the guilty. From this time forth it will be your fault as well as ours. How
glad we are to have someone with whom to share the blame. You have
been an innocent High School young person. From now on, and with
increasing degree, you will know how it feels to be an adult delinquent,
responsible for almost everything, and declared to be guilty of all bad
events, past and present.
I trust that you will not go into social shock at your sudden promotion, as
the case may be.
You might be surprised to know that this big, wide, wonderful world is not
waiting to be conquered by you or anyone else. Cemeteries are filled with
people who thought the world could not get along without them. The
world has not been holding its breath waiting for your graduation and
application of knowledge. The world hardly knows that you exist. A
young man who had just received his degree from college rushed out and
said, "Here I am, world; I have a B.A."
The world replied: "Sit down, son, and I'll teach you the rest of the
This world has a way of forgetting the Alexanders, Washingtons, Lincolns,
McArthurs, Kennedys, Kings, Smiths and Joneses. Just the same way it
has of ignoring you as a graduating senior and you must prove your
presence, make your mark on history, through hard work, rigid discipline,
and unconquerable faith. If life hands you a lemon, squeeze it and start
a lemonade stand. If someone throws a brick, build a castle...
A baccalaureate service is an acknowledgment by the academic
community showing the value of the spiritual dimension of life.
The purpose of the baccalaureate is to show the relationship between the
search for knowledge and the quest for spiritual realities.
The result is that the graduates view the search for truth and the search
for faith as companions and not enemies.
There is no magic moment when you are no longer innocent. There is no
magic moment when responsibility lays hold on you and seeks to smother
you. There just comes that time, when through God given processes, you
begin to recognize that you are an individual with an assigned divine
responsibility. Some people grow with responsibility, others merely swell.
We do not know just when the curtain goes up. We have no way of
knowing just when the performance of life will be over, the curtain comes
down, and the audiences may applaud or boo, or both.
You will never be able to escape a part of what you are right now. There
will never be the time when in the magic of a moment that you will be
different from the many values you have stored away in your life. The
Bible says, "As a man thinketh in his heart... so is he."
Only you can really know, and once in awhile we can tell, whether or not
you have begun your journey toward maturity. Maturity - you are young
only once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. There are several ways
that one can know:
1. Are you looking more to long term goals rather than
demanding short term satisfaction?
2. Has there come to you the realization that we do not have all
the answers, but we must accept duly constituted authority?
3. Is there beginning to develop a concern for others more than
4. Are you more willing to wait for answers? Patience - is idling
your motor when you feel like stripping your gears. Answers
- an educated man is one who has finally discovered that
there are some questions to which nobody has the answers.
5. Are you willing to have others depend on you as you are to
depend on them?
6. Do you feel capable of important, life changing decisions?
Even though you are going through a few years of obscurity, obscurity
provides an opportunity for preparation.
Jesus, the Christ, was virtually unknown the first thirty years of His life.
The Bible tells us in Luke 2:52, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and man."
We cannot serve a twisted, needy humanity in our own strength and
knowledge. We must seek God's leadership. We must ask God to
enlighten us in our assigned responsibility. It is not so much your
responsibility as your response to God's ability that really counts ....
All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the
ladder... YOU MUST BUILD THAT LADDER.
Good luck and may God bless you in that effort.
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