Very recently, I needed to make a photo copy of the most expensive piece of paper that I own. My family and I moved into our new house a little over a year ago and, because of the rarity in its use, it remained in one of those un-packed boxes, left over after the move. You know the ones, the “I am so sick of unpacking, we will just store this one” boxes. The piece of paper I needed was my College diploma. In the search, I made an unexpected discovery.
As I was looking, I found a little piece of paper that had little, tiny ink footprints on it that belonged to my daughter; they were marked minutes after she was born. A little more searching, I found a completion certificate from the Pre-Cana course my wife and I took before we were married. After a few more papers, I found a picture of my Father and I working on my 1966 Mustang, prior to my sixteenth birthday. A little more digging and I saw an old business card of mine, from a mortgage company that I previously worked for; It closed its doors, on a payday! I found a Mass card from the funeral of my cousin, who was only a few years older than I. I found a “Thank you but we hired someone more qualified” letter from a company that I had applied with. An old receipt from a scrap yard reminded me of when my daughter and I used to go “scrapping” every Saturday for a little extra cash. I found a certificate stating that I had earned my varsity letter for wrestling, in the eighth grade. An owner’s manual for one of my wife’s wheelchairs was mixed in with the rest of the papers.
This list only included a few of the papers that I found before I located my diploma, but what I realized is that each paper in that box represented either a defeat or a triumph, but all represented a learning experience. All of those papers combined would not be as expensive as the diploma, but I believe they are much more valuable, and not just in sentimental terms. That day I realized what Jim Rohn meant, when he said “Formal education will make you a living; Self-education will make you a fortune”.
Each day we have little opportunities to learn and grow. By no means am I saying that I am not thankful for my opportunity to attend college. What I am saying is that facts and figures are important, but when circumstances throughout our lives, no matter how small, force us to make decisions and when we truly analyze the outcome of those decisions we earn Life’s Diploma.