December 11, 1990

Graduation Letter from Bob

Manhattan, Kansas 66502

Dear Mark,

On Saturday the Kansas Board of Regents will confer upon you the baccalaureate degree, an achievement for which you, your family and friends are justifiably proud. I am extremely honored to attend the ceremony and reception, and extend to you my warmest congratulations on your accomplishments.

This graduation commemorates an important milestone in your life. It is a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood; it symbolizes society's legitimation of your capabilities as a productive person. And, in the eyes of the faculty and others who took part in nurturing your intellectual and spiritual growth over the past few years, this occasion brings with it hope for your responsible citizenship in the years ahead.

This occasion also brings with it an air of uncertainty. Where will you be three, six, nine months from now? In the Peace Corps? In seminary? In graduate school? If so, where? Lawrence? Minneapolis? You face serious choices, and you will make hard decisions.

Those of us who know and love you have every confidence that you will make the right decisions, difficult though they may be. And, to be sure, you will face many other hard choices in the years ahead. You have much to offer, and we are sure that you will accomplish great things with your talents.

I offer no material gift at this time to commemorate your graduation; that will come later, as I already have noted. But I do wish now to offer for your consideration two pearls of wisdom, composed by others, as you embark on the next stage of your life.

A writer unknown to me devised the following admonition that appeared, of all places, on the side of a tea box:

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become your character.

Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.

But perhaps the most powerful guidepost for living (at least for me), which I have shared with you before, is this simple yet elegant passage found in Micah:

He has shown you, O Man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you,
but to seek justice,
love kindness,
and walk humbly with your God?

Sage words, indeed! A just, kind, and humble approach to living. What better ingredients are there?

Your time at Kansas State University has been rich and energizing for you, Mark. And you have many great, productive, and satisfying years ahead. Make the most of them!


Love, Bob