Graduates—whether from high school, college or advanced degree programs—are seldom surprised by the gifts they receive. Picture frames, fine pens, gift certificates to choose their own music, and books—all are favored by loving family and friends, well received by students, but unlikely to evoke more than a moment’s delight, much less continued appreciation. For the truly thoughtful person, however, receiving a copy of How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth could really begin to make a difference in the next phase of his or her study and possibly even life’s work.
This work, a collection of 101 essays from contributors throughout the United States and abroad, inspired one reviewer to write, “Everyone who cares about the state of the world should take the time to read this book.” The quality, scope and ambition of the book are clearly evident in Tony Blair’s words, “Idealism becomes the new realism.”
The world is becoming more and more interdependent so that ethical and purposeful graduates at all levels can and must step up in their quest for knowledge, imagination and wisdom. Character and resilience are more in demand that ever. The challenges are great, yet the opportunities are enormous.
A Heaven on Earth cannot be secured without God’s enduring, steadfast love, yet that is something that we have always had, still have and will always have. Humankind has made great progress in practically all fields of human endeavor over the last 5000 years, especially in the 200 years since the beginning of the industrial revolution.
I believe we are now in the innovation age, ideally suited for graduates of all levels to test and experiment with their new levels of education and training. This is especially true in the United States, a nation of immigrants and their descendents who ventured forth, for the most part, in search of better lives. That is the stuff of entrepreneurs, inventors, risk-takers and ones who have that sense of reaching out to improve immensely many aspects of life.
The book provides a view of a Heaven on Earth that includes peace, security, freedom, democracies, prosperity, spiritual harmony, racial harmony, ecological harmony and health as well as moral purpose and meaning. Some of the world’s greatest thinkers, leaders, and writers, from presidents to Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, from leaders of industry to ordinary people, these contributors present the superb writing that weaves a fabric of a serious and hopeful endeavor.
Let the graduates embark on their future with love in their hearts as they discover the pledge, “I will try to love and help create a Heaven on Earth.” What more could a graduate do to make his life more fulfilling? Such a pledge allows a leap forward with to a future based on love and dedication to a better world, one by one, million by million, billion by billion.
Give that special graduate a map that doesn’t limit him or her, but rather presents a rational and systematic way to look at the world. Then the task becomes his or her own, motivating and informing each one of the goals, obstacles, means and faith to literally change the world in a way that we all long for.