The Crusader Newspaper Group

Graduation and Mother’s Day offer lessons in life

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

There’s something ethereal about a college graduation on Mother’s Day – as is the case on many campuses across the nation. Rather than a conflict of priorities, in many ways the two often create some soulful introspection that link these seminal moments.

Mothers gave birth to our possibilities with the God-given miracle of life. Most men can’t fathom nine months of such absolute and selfless submission and sacrifice. And that doesn’t even take into account the often-indescribable pain necessary for labor and delivery.

As expectancy culminates with birth, a mother’s eyes pierce those of a newborn with a penetrating brand of love never to be duplicated; foreboding the nurturing to follow throughout the child’s formative and most vulnerable years of infancy, through childhood, to adult life.

Commencements similarly climax a period of time, more often than not, filled with sacrifice and often accompanied by hardship, struggle, pain and frustration; before ultimately reaching hard-earned delivery of a degree – whether associate, bachelor, master, or doctorate.

The offspring soon masters the basics – from sounds to words to sentences to personal expressions. Mother’s love feeds actual and spiritual nutrition required to meet daunting requirements of body and mind – even before we reach the realm of learning.

Donning caps and gowns, reflecting degree-earners reminisce on pre-school, elementary, junior and senior high school and shining moments that lit their paths; realizing that from the inception of learning, they were fed knowledge, skills, theory, doctrine, facts, conjecture, behaviors, philosophy, and modeled behaviors during the formative years that shaped their course and cemented their success.

When you’re young – very young – the slightest roadblocks seem insurmountable; struggling to memorize Shakespeare or historical dates, making that science project work, demonstrating the math equation step by step, understanding the novel then writing a book report. Things that loomed so large in the midst of a challenge became hindsight laughter. So were paralyzing fears and apprehensions confided to mothers alone, knowing that they would not only respond from a perspective of unconditional love, but that they knew everything and, as a back-up, had a pipeline to Jesus, just in case.

Mothers made us believe anything was possible because God said it.

Whenever asked about my own self-confidence, the explanation is simple. From as far back as I can remember, my mother insisted that her 10 children were as good as anyone. Then admonished in the same breath that none of us are better than anyone else – all being one in the eyes of the Creator.

She taught me that the question was never “Why can’t I?” but rather “Why don’t I?” Long before the existence of Nike, she espoused the “Just do it” mantra. Thanks to transition to life eternal…she lives.

When students cross the stage and clutch their degrees, it symbolizes the starting line for the race of their lives. While there are no guarantees, graduates’ fate will be determined by aptitude, attitude and “grace and mercy” that is the inheritance of those who walk by faith.

Likewise, mother taught you all that she could – despite youthful resistance. That’s all she could do. The rest is up to you. With all the love a mother rains over a child, the son or daughter still bears the responsibility of applying the learning and the love to life!

Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s a parting thought for mothers – whether in their earthly or heavenly home – on this special day of recognition:


Sometimes it must seem quintessentially mean,

In one breath called out your name, in the next hailed as queen.

Schizophrenic-acting children too often disrespect,

The very womankind that they’ve sworn to protect.

And yet you rise, refusing to compromise

The character within you that others won’t recognize;

Refusing limitations, unwilling to submit

Overcoming mistreatment, you forgive but won’t forget.

You keep your head lifted, moving gracefully,

Looking past how it is, to the way it should be,

You’re our standard bearer, our inspiring vision,

Wisdom, beauty, strength and love with precision.

The sustaining conscience of our righteous cause,

Accept this THANK YOU note, with long overdue applause

You create high hopes, teach us to refuse relegation,

And every child you touched, owes you a standing ovation.

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City.

Send comments or questions to: [email protected].

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