But are they really done?
As they begin their summer vacation or set off on a new path in the work world, are they actually finished? Is anyone ever truly finished with learning?
When listening to the valedictorian delivering the address to the graduates, many adults are moved by the reality of the giant step these young people are taking, the new horizons that they will be moving toward. Do we ever reach that horizon?
Our lives are constantly ebbing and flowing.
The lessons learned through daily living, the challenges of discovering new ideas and concepts provides each of us with expanding goals and dreams that last a lifetime.
When I went to school, the most frequent assignment at the beginning of the school term was a written submission detailing, “What I Did On My Summer Holiday.”
What a chore that writing seemed to be — I felt everyone else had done something more interesting or gone somewhere more thrilling than I had.
But, what an amazing number of things I learned from the recitals of the other students, not the least of which was they thought my adventures were more exciting than theirs (I think that was my first indication of the power of the written word).
All through the 25 years I was employed in a school, I saw this joy of discovery shine in the young people I was working with. But, when the time came to retire (and it was time — the Grade 1 students said they thought I was the principal’s mom).
I missed the questions and the answers, but I thought I was finished.
Definitely not so.
I am now dealing with a four year old whose favourite question is “why?”
And if I don’t know the correct response, I had better do some investigating because he’s not likely to forget that neither he nor I have the answer — yet.
Even then, I had better be thorough in my research because one answer invariably leads to at least four more questions.
And so I have discovered the reward of life-long learning does not come only in the form of a certificate or a diploma.
It appears in the bearing and behavior of the knowledge seeker. Personalities who love learning attract other would-be learners like a magnet attracts iron filings.
Ideas grow best when they are shared. If we look around us at the vital individuals who spark energy and joy in others, who dedicate hours of their time to causes and concerns, who stop for an innocent chat with a youngster in the grocery store, we can observe this attraction in our own community.
This is a gift we can all give back to our world.
No one can afford to rest on their laurels.
Don’t waste the power each one of us has been given to make a difference.
When you’re searching for knowledge, when is the end really the end?