Time tested wisdom for our graduates & their dads

(Los Alamitos, Father’s Day, 6/15/2014) First,  happy Fathers’ Day to all the Dads reading this.  There may be a higher calling for a man than being a great Dad and loving his kids’ Mom, but I can’t think of it!

Yesterday I celebrated Fathers’ Day watching our son receive his degree at UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion yesterday in a four hour School of Engineering ceremony.

Boeing’s CEO encouraged hundreds of graduating engineers to work hard, give back, and work for companies where ethics and integrity are core values.  Well said, but the student speaker, born & raised in L.A., trumped the CEO in my book as he defined success as

 “making a better life for others.”  I like that.

For advice for young adults (anyone, actually), I think it’s hard to beat the advice Israel’s wisest king gave his sons:

My son, never forget the things I have taught you.
Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
and strength for your bones.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the best part of everything you produce.
Then he will fill your barns with grain,
and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Proverbs 3:1-10, New Living Translation

Rehoboam thought he and his youthful advisors knew it all.

Sadly, as Solomon aged he didn’t practice what he preached.  When he died, his son Rehoboam did not take his father’s advice, or that of his Father’s advisors.

Shortly after Rehoboam’s inauguration a delegation of leaders approached their new King Rehoboam and requested relief from the massive tax burdens Solomon had imposed to finance his great building programs.

Solomon’s advisers counseled Rehoboam to comply and gain loyal subjects for life.  Solomon’s peers advised him to show those rebels who’s boss & increase the burdens on the people.

Unfortunately, Rehoboam relied on his own understanding & that of his peers.

The result  was a permanent split of the ancient Israeli state, ultimately leading to the obliteration of both the northern and southern kingdoms and two millenia of dispersion of the Hebrew people.

Rehoboam’s father has humbly sought and received God’s wisdom for the great task of governing after his father King David’s death.  The result was Israel’s Golden Era.

Rehoboam thought he and his youthful advisors knew it all, and the result was civil war & Israel’s demise.

King David’s great accomplishments wasted in three generations.

Trust God, not yourself.  Don’t think you know it all.  Be loyal.  Put God first.  Practice what you preach.  Lead by example.

Good advice 3,000 years ago, good advice today.

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One Response to Time tested wisdom for our graduates & their dads

  1. JM Ivler says:

    Alas, Dave and I are going to disagree (yet again).

    Rather than seeking the wisdom of nomads wandering around in the desert, I’ll settle on Steven Speilberg and his fictional extra-terrestrial. “Be good.” It’s easy to say that, but it’s hard to do it. Sometimes “be good” means doing something that doesn’t appear be in your immediate best interest. Sometimes it means taking the shot meant for someone else. Sometimes it’s not really clear what it means to you personally, a potential filled with the unknown. But “be good” is a simple standard that you can live up to, and in doing so you will make the world a better place.

    In another movie, the same concept was put forward in the movies title and in the movie itself; Pay It Forward. Like “Be good.” it’s a simple concept that is at times hard to grasp.

    Now Dave would say “do unto others” and claim that there is the root of it all, and I won’t disallow him that belief by negating it. But for me it all started long before that, in the very antiquity of time, while man was still wondering what that ball of fire in the sky was and where it went to when it wasn’t there any more. That first day when man realized that working together, that helping the other guy, was more in his interest than working alone. That “be good” and “pay it forward” were a better way to live, even if they didn’t have the terms for it.

    So, to those who are moving on to the next step in their lives, to them I say “be good” and “pay it forward”. Your life, and the lives of those who you touch will be richer for the rewards of your efforts.

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