Time For All Graduates To Notice The River
Editorial by Robert
the months of May and June many of the parents, grandparents
and family members reading this article will be attending
graduation ceremonies at elementary, secondary and
post-secondary institutions throughout the region.
As a professional educator in the classroom for 28
years, and now with my own tutoring company, I often find
myself wondering if our education system has adequately
prepared our children for the challenges of life that lay
ahead of our graduates once they enter the real world beyond
school. At times, I have felt a lot like the Master in the
story told by Anthony de Mello.
“As the Master grew old and infirm, the disciples
begged him not to die. The Master said, “If I did not go,
how would you ever see?”
“What is it we fail to see when you are with us?”
But the Master would not say.
When the moment of his death was near, they said,
“What is it we will see when you are gone?”
With a twinkle in his eye, the Master said,
“All I did was sit on the riverbank handing out river water.
After I’m gone, I trust you will notice the river.”
Every time I read that story I get a chill running up
and down my spine; for it is true that the best teachers in
the world are those who sit on the “riverbank handing out
I am convinced that knowledge is caught, not taught,
thus our role as educators and parents is to provide
leadership and to facilitate experiences which will enable our
children to “notice the river” after they leave us. We
hand out the “river water of knowledge and learning
experiences” in the hopes that our students will be able to
see the whole river when we are no longer part of their lives.
My message this week is for all graduates who are
finished with their formal education.
It is time to ‘notice the river’.
If the years you have been in school were beneficial,
you will indeed notice the river that has grown in size
through the experiences you have encountered in life. As you
go forth to meet new challenges, you may never fully realize
the value of those experiences, but your attitude and
determination to succeed will surely have grown from the water
which was handed out to you in the past by all of your
teachers. While you were a student, you could not possibly
have seen the river, focussing only on the bits of water you
were given at the time. But now as you walk off that stage
with your diploma in hand, you can gaze across the world of
opportunity in front of you and clearly see the river flowing.
You can see that each time you were handed a cup of water,
your personal river grew larger and more splendid.
As you go forward into your new careers, remember the
story about the university graduate who met with his boss on
his first day of work. The graduate went on and on about all
of the things he had taken in school and tried to impress the
boss with what he knew about the job. The boss quietly served
the graduate a cup of coffee and began to pour. He filled the
cup to the brim and then kept pouring. The graduate watched
the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself.
“It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the graduate
“You are like this cup,” the boss replied. “How
can you expect to fit in with this company unless you first
empty your cup?”
So I say to all graduates, as you make your journey
through life, pay attention to the new “teachers” along
the way who are there to hand you some more water to add to
your river. Each time your cup is filled with a new
experience, empty it into your personal river, making it even
more spectacular and magnificent. Always be willing to fill
your cup with new water and as you look back upon the river it
will be something you can be proud of. Soon, it will be you
who will be sitting by the riverbank handing out river water,
just like the Master in the story.
Remember, “Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to
one’s awareness of one’s ignorance. When you come to see
you are not as wise today as you thought you were yesterday,
you are wiser today.”
Have a good week!