John Andrews

Bastiat was that rarity, a reflective statesman. A father of the breed was Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor in the 2nd century, who penned his remarkable “Meditations” while on military campaign. “My Early Life” by Winston Churchill is another example, closer to our own time. Either makes a memorable gift at this season.

Character forged in the fire seems to be the theme of my recommendations here. That wasn’t planned; I just grabbed some favorites off the shelf. It’s fitting, though, for the Class of 2008 as they ask themselves, “What now?” Help set their moral compass with books like Elton Trueblood’s “Abraham Lincoln: Theologian of American Anguish” or Robert Bolt’s unforgettable play about Sir Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons.”

Whatever book you give, inscribe it with three A’s. Jot your affection for the person he or she is, your admiration for the summit reached with this diploma, and your anticipation of higher peaks the graduate will climb. Then sign it, date it, and feel great about it. You’ve given a gift that will last.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"