Last Friday was our second Valedictory Dinner for our year 12 students.
Let me clarify, they didn’t get two dinners; we had our first in 2017. Beautiful location (The Wild Goose Restaurant, all to ourselves), proud parents and some grandparents, students dressed very well. It was a great night. One of the things I like about our college never growing too big is that these events will always give every student an opportunity to express themselves.
Each student wrote a brief paragraph of what the college had meant to them. It was both profoundly moving and deeply encouraging. This is really what we work for, not the congratulations but the sense that the investments you are making in their lives have been positive and meaningful. Some of the students had been at MCC since the beginning of their schooling and others had come to find a fresh beginning. It was great.
So Valedictory or a valediction is the act of parting, through words. I love the word farewell. To fare is a statement on living or going through life, as in, “How did you fare?” So, farewell is essentially a desire that someone goes through life well; successfully. Still remembering some Russian, I told them that Russians in parting say, Do Svidanya; meaning until we meet again. It is wonderful when students return to catch up and let you know how they fare.
I had the privilege of addressing the students and encouraged them to be curious. I mentioned the quiz that I wrote about in the last blog: here is an excerpt from the speech.
Interestingly, Jesus encouraged curiosity:
• “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Lk 11:9–10).
• Jesus spoke in stories: parables, things they understood in life to illustrate something more profound and meaningful: farming, social customs, practices, moving from the familiar to a powerful truth.
• Some people would go "duh"; others, curious, would stay and ask and some would want more. The ones wanting more got the answers.
• Life doesn’t come to you with carefully laid out plans and instructions. You will have to work at working it out
• In your life opportunities will rarely come up and grab you
• Opportunity knocks aren’t true
• You don’t wait for life, you explore it!
• Opportunity will usually walk by somewhere near you
• You will have to do something about it
• Ask, seek, knock
Sometimes I fear that the world you are living in is dumbing down, getting meaner, or even that its social fabric is shredding. Polarizing. People seem to rush to take sides or rant against one another on social media. You will be tempted to live that way, to dumb down. Tempted to rush to judgement, to quickly take a side. Tempted to not seek to know, to not ask to understand, to not knock to see what can open to you.
I wasn’t born a Christian. I became one at age of 23, I think my curiosity helped me get to this place. I wanted to know, part of me wasn’t satisfied with: Is that all life is? Be curious about people (i.e. can I come to know you?) as people are valuable and worth understanding. Be curious about relationships i.e. can I solve this? Be curious about your life or work i.e. how could this be improved? Explore and be adventurous. Live life with a sense of wonder … Ask, seek, knock.
Mr Rod McNeill