reposted after editing.
If one is graduating, it’s fairly certain that they have:
- been asked what they are going to do next
- been given advice
- been given more advice, typically based on the advice giver’s experiences or observations
Only the treacherous among us offer advice that is not well-intentioned. Advice can be everything from tiresome to crucial.
If you have never received advice, raise your hand. See, I thought so. Advice comes at the graduate from every angle. Graduation time is Advice Central and parents dispense their “expert opinion” as only a stakeholder can . Advice can be helpful too; mentoring relationships can build capacity in unexpected ways and give insights the fresh graduate might not have.
Switching gears, in our place, small people are about and story-reading out loud is a thing that happens. Recently the story chosen was David and Goliath. There might be those who have read this story more than I have, but sometimes it doesn’t feel possible. When re-reading things though, sometimes different things pop out and strike a chord.
In my most recent readings of this story, before David goes to slay the giant, the king tries to give him his huge coat of armor to protect him. After all, the king knows battle, David knows shepherding. David puts on the huge coat of armor and realizes soon “this won’t work,” and takes it off and goes to choose 5 stones instead.
That little moment resonated on the nature of previous generations desiring to prepare and protect younger generations. Apparently, it isn’t a new phenomena. While the coat of armor was indeed a useful thing to have in battle, the king didn’t anticipate David’s capacity: his skills in marksmanship or experience in the deadly force of a stone in the right spot.
When I see graduates, I see that capacity… the David capacity to slay giants in ways that haven’t been done before. After all, that is what we did when we were young, right?
The beauty of a graduate is the hope they embody for the future of our world. The David’s all capped and gowned ready to take down giants in their own ways, with or without the benefit of our protective armor.
One of my favorite poems by Spanish poet Antonio Machado speaks to me of the armies of David’s marching toward their Goliath.
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda
Traveler, there is no road.
Make the road by going.
By going, you make the way
Only in looking back at where you have come from will you see the path.