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The Black Cornerempty posted: 5.03
Mike Ramey Mike Ramey
Graduation Day-- III
by Mike Ramey,
The Manhoodline
some text

Brothers, you know what time it is.

From the outset, let me send this greeting out to the graduates of our nation--be they holders of high school diplomas, or college/university degrees. They get an annual tip of the hat from this columnist for a job well done.

Sure, I’d like to be there in person, standing on the platform as many of our younger brothers receive their diplomas and/or degrees. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to deliver this speech in person.

However, thanks to the march of modern technology, my remarks will sail into the realm of the Internet and into the hands of many a praying parent or relative, who will--out of the kindness of their hearts, and concern for your future--pass it on to you.

Congratulations, young men! You have made it! You, along with your female classmates, have succeeded in your efforts to grab the down payment on life--that diploma or degree.

Now, from the parents in the house, I’d like to remind the graduates of our dual-pronged mantra: ‘Know who God is AND get your EDUCATION!’ Yes, the ‘parental death penalty’ threat has been lifted--because you have succeeded! You have fixed your gaze on the objective, and have reached it. You have ‘climbed’ the mountain.

However. As you look across the valley, you see yet another series of mountains which you young brothers are going to have to climb.

Those mountains are the mountains of real life.

On behalf of your parents, your pastors and church leadership, and on behalf of some of us ‘gray headed Old Schoolers’, I’d like to spend just a few moments to let you know the names of some of those mountains you are going to have to face--and conquer!


For you young brothers, the first hill that you will have to climb is called Discouragement. It’s a slippery one to climb, as some of the terrain seems to constantly change from one year to the next. That sheepskin in your pocket is your down payment on what your have mastered in the classroom.

It is NOT a down payment on what you have yet to master in life.

To climb this mountain is going to take courage, my young brothers. It is going to mean that you will have to learn how to say NO to feeling sorry for yourself, and be willing to back up your words with actions wherever, and whenever life hands you the short end of the stick. To climb this mountain is going to mean that you will have to know with whom to associate, to whom you can relate, and from whom you will have to RUN!

One of the lessons I have learned from life, I pass freely on to you. People can spot greatness in you, oftentimes faster than you can spot greatness in yourself. On the other side of the coin, many of those who can spot greatness in you may be among the first one to try to grind it out of you with discouraging words, caustic comments, and negative talk.

Shake off the negative, and keep you eyes fixed on the climb. Not only is the objective to make it to the other side of the mountain; you must also provide aid and comfort to those other souls who will be coming up after you. Remember the words of the immortal Mark Twain: I can go three months on a compliment!

After the graduation ceremony is over today, many of you will make it over to the campus bookstore--for the last time--to trade in your books. I would urge you to invest some of what you get back into yet another book, entitled: ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ by John Bunyan. Yes, it was written a few centuries ago. However, the messages contained within this book are priceless and will help you overcome Discouragement Mountain--with style.


Oh, some of you may ‘think’ that you know a thing or two about the ‘opposite sex’. However, let an Old Schooler hip you on two things about women. The first: Any man that brags about the number of conquests he has had is NOT a man, but a child who is big for his age. The second: Any man who says that they know all there is to know about women is a LIAR.

LOVE is not LUST with a different spelling.

My young brothers, you will have to understand not only the difference between the two; you will have to determine in yourselves that you won’t fall for each and every set of pretty eyelashes that are batted your way!

Love Mountain has other names: The mountain of self-control; the mountain of physical purity; the mountain of delayed gratification or the mountain of self-contentment. Be advised--if you CAN NOT control yourself around members of the opposite sex, you will not only compromise your manhood; you will eventually be scarred by an STD (sexually transmitted disease), or the business end of a 9mm pistol!

Men and women are different, contrary to what the feminized mainstream press and Hollywood may put forth. A man is stimulated by what he SEES, and a woman is stimulated by what she HEARS. My young brothers, you are adults in age, but not in experience. To climb Love Mountain means that you will have to HOLD OUT for the right woman to become your WIFE for LIFE.

Yes, I know divorce has been rampant in our modern society. Yes I have heard the excuses from both young men and young women for the need to get their roll on. Yes, I have seen the reports, read the studies, and heard the rap. However, the ultimate objective in climbing and conquering Love Mountain is to realize that your future wife is waiting for you on the other side. If you ARE right, and STAY right, then you will know how to CHOOSE right. You--and she--will live happily ever after because you took the time to WAIT.

The best thing to wake up with in the morning--is a clear conscience.

Don’t bed--until you WED! Can I get an AMEN from the parents in the house?


Now, I know that this next mountain is going to cause a bit of controversy because some believe that it is a forbidden subject. The subject of TRUE spiritual satisfaction. This mountain also has a variety of names, ranging from the New Age to Reincarnation.

Your time in this institution of higher learning has led you to many different paths in the discovery of ‘religion’. However, let me state for the record that I am a Christian, and I am NOT ashamed to bend my knee and call on the Lord in prayer. I’ve seen the rest; but God still has the best in mind for those who belong to Him, and call upon His name.

I’d like to remind the brothers in the house that it wasn’t that long ago in American History that African Americans were FORBIDDEN to learn how to read and write. The men and women who were brave enough to teach our fore parents how to uncover the mysteries of the English language did so at great cost. Some of them sacrificed their lives in order to teach us how to read and write.

Do you know what book our fore parents wanted to master? Do you want to know the first book that was in many a home library? The KJV. The B-I-B-L-E.

Many of you brothers come to college from cities and towns that have strong churches. There were people praying for your success, and that diploma or degree represents an answer to their prayers. Out of a sense of duty to your people, and reverence for those who prayed for you, I would urge you to say THANK YOU by taking the climb up that Mountain. You will discover that Jesus Christ has already made the climb, and is merely awaiting your decision to join Him in the journeys of life.

Yes, this particular mountain is going to be the hardest to climb. Not everyone is going to be glad to acknowledge that you have made the climb, if you decide to trek out for it. Fewer still are going to applaud your efforts in making it up the steep grade, and the rocky soil of this world. As a matter of fact, there ARE those who are going to challenge your climb up this particular mountain, saying that the Christian ‘religion’ is a white man’s religion.

They are wrong, wrong, WRONG!

Christianity is NOT a religion, but a firm RELATIONSHIP with God, the one who created the universe, allowed your heart to beat, and your lungs to fill with air. You are NOT an accident; but are on time by DESIGN.

Trust me on this one, my young brothers, as it comes right from the KJV Bible: "I was once young, but now I am old. I have never seen the righteous forsaken, nor their seed begging bread."

Once upon a time, each of us here on this platform has sat in your seats, awaiting our sheepskins. There used to be a time when the local Pastor or preacher would be making the commencement remarks. These days, people tend to ‘push’ God’s people out, and usher everyone else in with their ‘words of wisdom’. Let me bring you this note of encouragement as I bring my Graduation address to a close.

The only way you will get to know God is to study His word for yourself. And, thank God that you live in a nation where you can still seek Him. The events of 9/11 should underscore, in a very powerful fashion how precious our religious liberty is in the United States of America. America may not be all that she can be; but she is a lot better than the nations without God, who are in second, third, or fourth place.

It is up to YOU, my graduating brothers to help America be all that she can be, by being all that YOU can be!

Now, God Bless you, and go forth to do exploits that will remind the world who you are--blessed of God. Thank you, put your shoes back on, and have a great life!”

MIKE RAMEY is the author of The Manhood Line. A syndicated, monthly column, written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. Emails welcome to
© 2003 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International

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