A Dad's Advice to Graduates

It’s finally here! Graduation Day! Congratulations! You earned it after years of schooling. Some of you may have worked ahead and finished early. Others might have needed extra time. Either way, you are about to step into that ‘real world’ your parents and instructors have warned you about over the years. They were right, you know. Parents and other adults know what they’re talking about, even when you think they are wrong. The question is, how will make it in the brave new world you are about to enter? Will you survive at all?

Speaking from my own experiences, you need to pray for God to reveal what He wants for your life. In other words, let Him direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6). Some of you may have done this already, and that’s great. Others may have never given this a thought. Regardless, take a moment and do this today. Do it again tomorrow, and the day after, etc.

When you pray for God to show you what He wills, you are putting His will before yours. You are putting His name before (enter your name here). We get an example of this in the Lord’s Prayer:

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).

Another example comes just before Jesus gets arrested. While praying in a garden, Jesus says the following:

“Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Before we go any further, let me tell you how I reached this conclusion. Not too long ago, a young, dumb and unsaved Chris Woodward graduated from high school thinking he was on a path to being America’s next great sportscaster. I was convinced that I was going to one day work for a big sports channel. I even told my friends that I would get tickets for them to see the Super Bowl and other sporting events. That’s not how it turned out for me.

In college, while working at a television station and studying broadcast journalism, I realized that there are dozens of people for every one sports reporter position in America. A lot of them are also ex-jocks with the experience that I could not bring to the table. As a result, I began to think sports reporting was not for me. However, I kept that to myself and never asked God to show me what He wanted for my life.

Months passed and I went from envisioning a career as a videographer, newscast director, and audio/visual design. That last one included grad school in Washington state, and based on how much student loan debt I had waiting on me after graduation, additional education was quickly crossed off my list. I then learned how bad I was with a camera, and as fun as it was directing newscasts, there was not a lot of money for me in the television market where I worked. Thankfully, the station’s news director offered me a position as Producer. I was six weeks from college graduation, not to mention I just got engaged. I took the better-paying position, learned the ropes and eventually moved to a bigger market where I made more money but felt like I was missing something in my life. It was then that I became a father and decided to move my family closer to relatives. I also got saved in that process (John 3:16, Romans 3:23, 6:23. 5:8, 10:13).

Here is what I should have done years ago to save myself a lot of headaches. I should have asked God what He wanted me to do on this side of eternity. I was in church as a child, and I participated in a lot of activities. Unfortunately, I never gave things much thought, and I was pretty much there because my parents expected me to be involved. Don’t get me wrong, they were acting on good intentions. I just wish they inquired more as to where I was with the Lord. It’s possible they were digging for answers, but I had tuned them out by that point in my life.

You can take my advice today, or you can roll your eyes and think I sound like someone else you know. But odds are, if you are not asking God for His will and His ways in your life, you will be a lot like I was in the years immediately following graduation. If you’re a Christian, and you are more interested in what you want to do, then you might just end up sharing similar advice to your future children. I could be wrong, but I’d rather say it now and stand corrected than never say anything and wish I had.

Chris Woodward

Assistant Editor, One Million Dads
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