To Stephen on his graduation
seems like last Wednesday that you graduated from Kindergarten with a Life
Saver dangling from your cardboard hat. I congratulate you on waiting
until the final prayer to crunch that candy. And I congratulate you today
on an even greater achievement: graduation from high school.
Your mother and I felt like singing the Hallelujah Chorus when you
seized that diploma, for there were times we wondered if you’d stop
playing hockey, or baseball, or “Age of Empires” long enough to finish crucial assignments. Like me,
you suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, a wonderful condition full of
constant surprises, but something teachers are still learning to
appreciate. Despite these distractions, you have passed enough tests,
written enough essays, and dissected enough frogs. I’m proud of you.
When I was your age, I was madly in love with your mother. I’m glad to
see that you are reflecting none of that foolishness yet.
[pictured: Stephen is on the left]
[pictured: Stephen is on the left]
Some of your peers accepted honors today and it’s important that
you learn to rejoice with those who rejoice. We Callaways were seldom
singled out for academic awards, partly because we wanted to give the
other students a chance, and partly because, as your grandfather once
said, when they were handing out brains, we were at the buffet table
loading up on ham. I made the Horror Role twice, but never the Honor Roll.
And so, in the absence of other honors, I wish to bestow upon you
distinguished awards, sponsored by companies you may recognize.
1. The Pulitzing My Leg Prize. Solomon once wrote that
laughter is better than Prozac, and you have proved him right. You have
invented hilarious faces, said things we still can’t believe, and
brought abundant humor into our home. You have put gum in my hair, soap in
my toothbrush, and Kool-Aid in the showerhead. People ask where I get
ideas for my books. They need look no further than you and your siblings.
Never forget that one laugh is better than three tablespoons of bran
flakes. Laughter is a holy gift from a loving God. Those who laugh the
hardest don’t laugh because life is easy, but because they have felt
God’s hand of mercy on their shoulders.
2. The Callaway Golf Award. People wonder how I can endure a game that rewards perseverance, courage, and devotion—with ulcers. The reason is simple. I love to be with my kids. We have peeled divots from dozens of golf courses together. And we have learned disconcerting things about our sinful nature. In fact, sometimes we’ve been so mad at ourselves that we’ve forgotten to hate our enemies. I love the way you put everything into each swing. And I don’t begrudge the fact you are now hitting it farther than I. This world won’t be a better place until kids are an improvement on their parents, so go ahead and hit it hard. Your generation is characterized by apathy. May that never be said of you. Keep lunging at life and whacking it dead center.
3. The GAP Award (God Answers Prayer). Eighteen years ago
your birth changed my life. I was humbled with a sense of my shortcomings.
Unprepared for the intensity of my desire to see you walk with God. I
began praying a simple prayer back then: that you would fall in love with
Jesus and never get over it. I have seen Him answer in marvelous ways.
Lately my prayer is even more basic: That you would see the awfulness of
sin and the greatness of God. In traveling to a few hundred speaking
engagements with me, hauling my luggage through countless airports, there
are few things you haven’t seen Satan doing. But you’ve also seen God
at work. Remember the men’s retreat where a convicted murderer covered
in tattoos hugged you hard? I suspect you do. “Follow God,” he said,
“and you won’t end up like me. I never knew my father. Thank God for
accepted a few honors in my day, but none comes close to the honor of
being your dad. Twenty-five years ago today your mother and I walked the
same aisle, graduating from the same school. We have found every promise
of God to be true, every day He has been faithful. He will do the same for
suspect you saw my tears today as you and two friends sang the closing
song at the graduation ceremony. I couldn’t help myself. I cried because
I love you. I cried because the words sum it up so well: “Your grace
still amazes me, your love is still a mystery. Every day I get on my
knees, your grace still amazes me.”
love, admiration and applause, Dad
We hope you enjoy the cash, the books and the Life Savers. One of these
days I’ll return the gum, the soap, and the Kool-Aid. When you least
Celebrate relationships with the perfect gift for your graduate. Making Life Rich Without Any Money.
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