Make the most of the rest of your life

The Way I See It

by DON WEST

Attending graduation ceremonies is not on the top of my list, however, when your first granddaughter finishes high school, the option to miss that milestone is just not available. So, on this past Tuesday, we got gussied up and sat in the hard bleachers of Jerry Simmons Stadium to celebrate the occasion with the Class of 2013. I think the last one I went to in that stadium was 49 years ago, but there may have been one or two since then.

Times have changed, but graduation has not changed much. I wasn’t around for the first graduation ceremonies of Jennings High School back in 1903, however, I am sure that the tradition has remained pretty much the same since those early days. Each graduate and their families and friends are there in support and to recognize their accomplishments and to wish them well in the next phase of their lives.

I did notice one very noticeable change and that change is the more casual attitude and dress of those attending the function. Once upon a time, most of the ladies would have been dressed in fine dresses and the men in coats and ties. I saw some in attire that should have been reserved for a back yard barbecue, but that was then and this is now. There is one other thing that I noticed, and that is we have lost a sense of decorum, whereby some who attended brought along noisemakers, air horns and such as if they were at a local or national sporting event. Polite applause and personal congratulations to your graduate should be enough, but apparently that is no longer the case. Days gone by would have seen all in attendance remain seated and orderly until all graduates have received their awards and diplomas, but there were many who headed for the exits as soon as their particular graduate’s name had been called. I personally think it is rude and shows lack of respect for all the graduates, each who has achieved and deserves our respect of their accomplishment. Maybe we should save the end-zone dances and the raucous behavior for the athletic event, and show some manners and respect to those who have achieved this intellectual goal.

Though I was never in the “honors row” for having excelled in academic studies, my group in the “thanks for coming by” row were still extended the courtesy of good manners and appreciative applause when our diplomas were given to us. Children learn from example. We will probably be able to watch the newspapers of the future and see those names and faces of children whose parents have been good examples, but we will also see the names and faces of children whose parents were less than good examples. However, let me offer a word of advice to all the graduates – this is the first day of the rest of your life and your future is yours to do with as you so choose. You already know the consequences or rewards of making decisions. Those life experiences will only be repeated and you can choose those that are most rewarding, regardless of your background.

I wish you the best and I charge you with the challenge.

Short URL: http://www.jenningsdailynews.net/?p=19749

Posted by on May 16 2013. Filed under Editorial Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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