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Y'all come on in!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Graduation...


Two of my grandchildren are graduating from high school this year. They will move the tassels and become the future leaders of our world. Little bit scary, isn’t it?

I’ve never quite understood just how it is that we expect them to grow up overnight. Especially when it took more than the movement of a bunch of long strings to mature us. But it’s a tradition. One second the tassel is on the “kid side” of the cap; the next it’s moved to the “adult side” and magic is supposed to happen.

But that’s not the way it works. Yes, there does come a time when a mama bird kicks the babies out of her nest and they either fly or the tom cat has them for supper. And I guess it is time for these students who know everything and their parents are super dumb to hop out there in the real world of taxes and jobs and responsibilities. They’d sure better learn to fly because the world is full of hungry tom cats.

I can feel them all rolling their eyes at everyone’s advice. After all, they are all super intelligent beings even if they haven’t mastered the art of getting the cap back on the toothpaste and do not have the foggiest notion about how to put toilet paper on a roller or get their dirty laundry into the basket instead of thrown beside it. And forget all about how to start a washing machine or shut a dresser drawer.

So here’s my advice to the whole bunch of you no matter whether you are graduating with more than a thousand students or less than twenty. The place in which you will learn the most probably won’t be in a classroom with a professor lecturing on the effects of the Civil War. It will be in the school of “hard knocks” but don’t worry, if you don’t pass, they don’t send you home. You get another chance and another until you get it right. Remember you come from a long line of survivors (your parents survived raising you so you have good genes) and sometime along the path of life you will figure out that your parents aren’t nearly as stupid as you thought they were.

There is a day of reckoning at the end of every semester if you are in college. It’s called “finals” and “grades”. Even though the results are neither one are put on the movie theater marquis on Main Street, a letter will be mailed to your parents. If they’ve never ever opened one thing addressed to you in the past, they will open that letter. So try to spend a little bit of time with your little nose inside an open book.

The college will not give you knowledge. I don’t know of a college in the world that offers a degree in the ancient art of loafing. Or one in flirting. Or partying. And when you finish school and go to look for a job there is no place on a resume that asks how much experience you’ve had in those areas.

Sometimes you will go back to college after a weekend and there will be no money tucked away in the folded laundry. That’s the week that your car insurance and your cell phone bill were both due, so cinch up your belt and eat in the cafeteria. You will survive for a week without pizza.

There won’t be anyone there to pick up your dirty socks or to wash your favorite shirt in the middle of the week. Don’t be too embarrassed to ask someone how to operate the washing machine (usually located on the lobby floor of the dorm). I’ll even let you in on a secret. There are instructions written on the lid of the washer in most places.

In five or six years you will walk across another stage. Your parents will cry even more at that time than they did at your high school graduation. That’s because after putting you through school, you are all they have left. The savings account is in the red. They’ve got three mortgages on the house. They’ve been working three jobs each and are riding a bicycle to work so that you can drive a car.

So every now and then call home and say, “I love you,” and don’t ask for money. And one last thing. All the advice in the world, be it from Grandpa, Uncle Herman or Great Aunt Gert, will not get you through some situations. You will have to figure out a few things on your own. Good luck and may the turning of the tassel take you on that wonderful journey called life!

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