“There are three types of men: those that learn by reading, those that learn by observing, and some just have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” — Cowboy Proverb
Graduation is about celebrating those that are in the first two groups…the readers and observers. The third group is a little harder to shop for. Graduation season is coming upon us and if you’re like me, your graduation gifts are usually forgotten until party time. I should tell you upfront that my love language is gifts; just ask my wife. She is a “words of affirmation” person, but has been given far to many gifts and not nearly enough words. Gift giving is the way I show people I care about them. Doughnuts, books, dinners, or whatever, I love giving gifts. But in the same sense, I feel enormous pressure giving gifts. So if you are in the same boat, here are some quick ideas for Graduation gifts to take the pressure off:
- Passport…most people need them at some point and it is a pain sometimes to get one in a short time. They are good for 10 years. Give your graduate a visa gift card for a hundred and fifty dollars with the forms and let them get their picture taken. Suddenly studies abroad or mission opportunities become much easier to enter into. Giving your graduate a chance to serve and experience another culture can be a life long gift.
- A timely book…Andy Stanley’s book, Ask It, is a great choice. It is about asking the question based in Ephesians 5.15-17: “How do I live a wise life?” John Piper wrote a book called Think, that focuses on the life of the mind to glorify God by exegeting Proverbs 2 and 2 Timothy 2. Jon Acuff’s book, Start, is an incredible book on the perspective of life. A simpler read than the other two, Acuff provides a view on life’s stages and encourages the reader to control the starting line of his or her life.
- Quarters…seriously. If practicality is what you are going for, there is a high demand for quarters in the life of a college student! Laundry, late night snack, and countless other things are purchased with silver…so don’t underestimate all those state quarters you have been saving like beanie babies because you thought they would be worth millions by now.
- A magazine subscription. You might be cringing right now because of your Pro Bowling Quarterly, Herbs Today, or Extreme Crocheting subscription you bought from that overzealous boy scout three years ago, that you still haven’t stopped getting, but a subscription to a Faith-based magazine like Relevant, World, or Group, will give your graduate something to think about every month. Even an apologetic magazine like Credo or Salvo might be the difference between doubt that turns as student away and doubt that helps a student reinforce their faith.
- An Experience…Perhaps the most appropriate gift for your graduate is not a gift at all but an experience. Instead of giving them something tangible, maybe it’s a letter from significant people in their lives put together in a scrap-book on their special day. Maybe it’s a ceremony of prayer and dinner in their honor with the elders at Church. Make it a ceremony, make it real, and make it spirit filled for graduation day.
Graduation day is one month away. It’s time to start thinking about what to get students. It was one of my least favorite times as a youth pastor because we usually had so many graduates that we worked on a limited budget. But with enough planning and time, with a personal touch, graduation can be an unforgettable celebration.