Right Of Passage
Well, weâ€™ve reached that time of the year when some of our beloved and wonderful young people are enjoying that right of passage that we call â€˜high school graduation.â€™ Well, I have something of a parable.
Many years ago when I was a brash young high school student, I remember that I was given the choice between two classes: The one was â€˜typing,â€™ or â€˜keyboardingâ€™ as I think they call it now, and the other was something else, I donâ€™t remember. At the time I think my reasoning went something like this: “Typing — thatâ€™s girlsâ€™ stuff! What in the world do I need that for? Not me, man, Iâ€™m not taking typing. Give me â€˜wood shopâ€™ or something.” I never learned to type, at all — never had a single lesson. You know, I really at the time never thought Iâ€™d need it.
Now, I know that the Lord has a sense of humor, and Iâ€™m sure Heâ€™s chuckled more than once watching me fumble through research papers and compositions in the wee hours of the morning with my pathetic â€˜hunt and peckâ€™ system of typing. I tried — I really tried to master that keyboard doing it â€˜my way.â€™ Heaven knows with a dozen years of college now, Iâ€™ve had enough practice. Oh sure, I could go fast. I could sound like a hailstorm on a patio roof, but — but when it was finished, I dare you to read it.
Iâ€™m here to tell you, â€˜if you want to be a good typer, you gotta do it the way they tell ya.â€™ Now, it may sound silly, but that one foolish inconsequential decision has cost me more time, and more frustration than you can imagine.
Well, I have made the correct decision, I decided to learn the correct way to type. My 13 year-old daughter — sat down with me and said something like this, “Okay Dad, these fingers go here, and these go here. These fingers cover these keys, and these cover those. Got it, Dad? — Good.”
Simple, right? — Not on your life! You think I could get those fingers to go where they were supposed to? — Not a chance! It was like herding ten pre-school children through a fun house maze. And my little fingers, they were the worst. It was like they were a part of my body, but not connected to the same nervous system. I mean, think about it: How in the world are you supposed to concentrate on ten different things all at the same time? It has been one of the most frustrating physical things I have ever done, as to try to â€˜retrainâ€™ — get that — â€˜retrainâ€™ these scared old hands. Trying to unlearn, my dear friends, the effects of a bad decision is many times more difficult than to have learned it right the first time.
Now, let me add this: Since that lesson from my daughter in January, I have experienced that wonderful phenomenon of a â€˜proper conditioned response.â€™ I still need a lot of work, but now I can look at a word, and automatically, at least most of the time, the right finger will land on the right key at the right time, and I donâ€™t have to think about it. Ooh, that feels good too!
My young friends, youâ€™re graduating. Your decisions in the next few years will in large measure determine the course of your entire life. Make them wisely, make them very carefully, but most importantly — make them the Lordâ€™s way. If you form the right habits now, the manuscript you write of your life will be an epic adventure that you, the Lord, and your children will enjoy for centuries to come.
I close with these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:
So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can!