Friday, April 22, 2011


My oldest daughter (and fourth child) graduated from BYU today. She’s the second of our kids to graduate college, and the first to graduate from BYU. It was hard not to think of our own graduation (my wife and I received our bachelor’s degrees together in 1983) and make comparisons. Her graduation was much larger than ours (hers in April, ours in August). Her commencement speaker was Richard G. Scott (delightful!); ours was Hugh Nibley (also delightful, but in quite different ways).

Our daughter is quite nervous leaving the safety of BYU, though she will also tell you she is ready. She has no job, yet, but has a few leads, including a big interview next week that we hope will go well. And she has a backup plan or two in case that doesn’t pan out. If all else fails, she can spend a while at our house and sort out options for the future.

As I look with her toward her future, I also look toward my own. I’m coming ever closer to the time when I said I’d go back and certify to teach, and wonder if I ever will. I face my own uncertainty about those big decisions that can change the future, and it’s no easier for me than for my daughter. In some ways it’s more difficult for me, since I still have kids at home to get through school.

But it’s telling that commencement signals the beginning, not the end. And many of us learn that each day is a new beginning. We do not “graduate” from things in life, but each day we commence anew, seeking to know God’s will for us that day, to know whom we can serve and how. We commence each week as we partake of the sacrament and renew sacred covenants. We commence as we attend the temple for those who have died before us and remember covenants we have made there and recommit ourselves to honor them. We commence as we regularly rededicate ourselves to those relationships that are most important to us. We commence as we repent of our mistakes and invite the blessings of the atonement to help us to improve.

A friend reminds me from time to time, Right where you are is a great place to begin. Here’s to beginning.


  1. Change is hard for me, as it is for many others. I'm having great difficulty in adjusting to a ward with recent boundary changes, during the reorganization of which I was released from everything I was doing and have yet to be called to anything else. It helps to be reminded, to steer my thinking into considering these things as the beginning of something new rather than the loss of something old. Thanks for the reminder, and good luck to your daughter.

  2. Thanks, Ardis. All the best in your transition. I was bishop of a ward whose boundaries changed and all of a sudden half of one ward and half of another became one ward. We were in a new ward without moving! What a daunting task.

    It took us a few months to get things right, I think. Our first attempt was pretty good in most areas, but not all. One member of my stake presidency kept reminding me: "Keep praying. You'll get it right soon enough."

    My heart goes out to those who are sorting through such changes.

  3. Congrats to you & your better half & your new graduate. On to the next adventure!

    (I think we have one of those ward reorg things coming up - all 3 wards are meeting together on Sunday - in my experience, that either means 1) boundary changes or 2) Christmas fell on a Sunday.)

  4. I would have thought you might have some inside information on that if it were happening...

    (When it happened in our ward, there was no secrecy -- people knew the reorg was coming; the only gossip was about who would serve where.)