I arrived on the scene just in time to be part of the celebration. I was not real familiar with the situation, yet I was lucky enough to be there to experience the happiness. Sometimes people don’t understand all the effort and heart people expel to help others better themselves. Here I stood a true witness to someone who was truly happy, and probably somewhat relieved, that it was finally finished.
Here in our country we are very fortunate to have so many institutes of higher learning. We have colleges, universities, trade schools, apprenticeship programs, and a host of other available programs to help us better ourselves and our careers. Sometimes I believe we take this education for granted, like it is something we are owed. Education is a gift and those who recognized that often are better at taking advantage of it. There is even a luckier group than that, though. The really lucky ones are those who have parents, family, or mentors that encourage them when they start doubting their ability, or kick them in the seat of the pants when they get lazy, or just take the financial pressure off them. These are the unsung heroes of most diplomas.
She was a single mom and she wanted to make sure her two girls had something that would help them succeed in life. She wanted both of her daughters to graduate from college. She would do whatever it took to get them there. When they were about to give up, she wouldn’t let them. When they got upset, she encouraged them. She invested in them not only with her spirit, but also with her purse. These were her girls and they were going to make it.
This was the day the dream was realized. Her first daughter had already graduated and was working as a teacher. The phone rang. It was late, but she took the call. On the other end were shouts that were hard to understand. “Calm down and take a breath,” she said into the receiver. “I passed the exam!” came the reply. It was more than an exam. It was the finals of the last class she needed to graduate. The mom never stood more proud on the perch. She refused to be the focus and instead turned the spotlight on her daughter. I guess that is what good parents do?
I had only been dating my wife for a little while when all this happened. I soon realized that these two bright and beautiful young girls really had a very special mother. In both of them I see the reflection of gratitude they have for their mother. Each reminds me of their mother, although sometimes in different ways. I feel like I really got a huge bonus when they came as a package with their Mom. I probably don’t say it nearly enough, but I treasure them both.
His name was Deacon John. His descendants could be traced back to emigrants from Essex, England who landed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony around 1638. He received the nickname “Deacon” because he was a deacon in his Congregational (Puritan) Church. He really did marry up. His wife, Susanna Boylston, was from a prominent family of medical doctors and scientists. He purchased a farm and lived in a saltbox house.
Deacon John was a farmer and a cobbler. Deacon John’s brother, Joseph, had attended Harvard and became a minister. Deacon John wanted his son to follow in Joseph’s footsteps and become a minister, too. He pushed his son in his studies, to which the son was none too eager to commit. The son wanted to be a farmer just like his Dad. Deacon John decided to teach his son a lesson, so he told his son the next day, if it was a farmer he wanted to be, he would show him what farming was really like. He took the stubborn son into the thatch. The son worked all day. That night Deacon John asked his son, “Are you satisfied with being a farmer?” Thinking he had taught his son a lesson, he was surprised by the lad’s reply. The son said, “I like it very well, sir.” The disappointed father responded, “Aya, but I don’t like it so well: so you will go back to school today.”
Deacon John was also very frugal. He also believed land was the only sound investment and once purchased, was never to be sold. There was only one time Deacon John broke his land rule and that was when he sold ten acres to help send his son to Harvard.
He was very depressed so he decided to do something that was comfortable and familiar to him. He had done it countless times before, but it was for a very different reason he was doing it on this day. He was here to get his mind off all that happened. I guess when you are a failure, the easiest thing to do is to revert back to the thing you use to do very well. That was exactly what he did.
He and his brother inherited the family business. He left to try something else out. It didn’t work out and he felt he was one of the main causes of its failure. After all he had one of the best teachers in the world and it couldn’t have been his teacher’s fault. His teacher was fond of him, too. He even had a nickname for him: Rock. Now, with only memories of that time, he was back at that family business. I’m sure the weight of that failure would be something he would carry with him the rest of his life.
As he climbed aboard the boat I’m sure his thoughts turned to all the fish they were going to catch. This was his career and he had done it so many times before. When he brought in his nets there were no fish in them. I’m sure he was now even more discouraged and probably thought, “Now I can’t even do this right.” Then a voice, a somewhat familiar voice, said, “Cast your nets on the other side.” Under his breath he probably said, “What’s the use, I’ve even lost my ability to do this. But I will do it just to humor you.” More fish than you are able to count was the result.
John then turned to Peter, the Rock, and said, “It’s the Master.” No sooner than the last “r” came out of John’s mouth, Peter was swimming to the shore to meet up with Jesus. All the time Jesus had spent on lessons to Peter and the other disciples were now becoming clear. Jesus gave all He had, His life included, so that Peter, and all of us, would have the education we needed to get to heaven.
Deacon John’s son, John Adams, would graduate from Harvard. He wouldn’t become a minister like his father wished. He would become a successful lawyer and he would help start the country we now call the United States. Not bad for the son of a shoemaker.
I am so impressed by what fine girls my step-daughters are. My wife should be so proud because they are definitely a reflection of the love she put into them. Deacon John never had the chance to see his son in action when we were coming together as a nation. As a Founding Father and as a President I’m sure John Adams would have made his father proud. Peter would finally catch on to Christ’s teaching and would even die a martyr’s death for the cause. Peter, the Rock, would put Jesus’ nickname for him to good use.
Prayer: Dear Mighty Father, Thank you so much for my step-daughters. Thank you so much for the love, devotion, and strength their mother, and my wife, has shown them. Thank you that they have taken that “education” and have applied it to their own lives. Amen.