Geri-Antics: A word about graduations

Published 4:30 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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By Anne Carmichael


Parents, Grandparents, Friends and Family, 

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Many of you have already faced the disappointment of a recent graduation event for your child. It likely didn’t meet your lofty expectations and you’re now wondering why you went to all the trouble of planning and spent your hard-earned money when your child simply didn’t appreciate your efforts.  

While the 2024 school year has now ended in most areas, I hope that perhaps I can shed a bit of light on what I feel went wrong, why, and how to put it all into perspective going forward into the coming school years.

The graduation ceremony is irrelevant to a four or five-year-old pre-k or kindergarten graduate who has no idea what the word ‘graduation’ means; who doesn’t want to wear a cumbersome robe or tickly tasseled cap; and who is either too shy or too unruly to walk across a stage and receive a rolled up piece of paper that they can’t read anyway.

Next comes graduation from fifth grade to Middle School. This is an extremely difficult age. These graduates are terrified of the unknown, yet bursting at the seams with both anxiety and new-found freedoms. Be kind to them.

Yet another graduation comes when your growing adolescent transitions from Middle School to High School. This time frame will once again be fraught with a measure of anxiety but with an added helping of ‘tude (attitude). They will be full of piss and vinegar, a sassy mouth, and disrespect for authority. You will want to get a grip on these negative tendencies straight away….but know that the older students will be armed and waiting to knock the unsuspecting freshman down a notch forthwith. 

Finally, the steepest mountain will have been climbed and your student will leave the halls of standard academia and out of your control. Soon thereafter will begin an independent course of study or the launch of their career path into adulthood. 

You will want to celebrate both his/her accomplishments and yours for surviving these years… but heed my warning.

Your graduate will want to celebrate with friends. When you approach them, you may be met with rolled eyes….eyes which will then search for gifts. Money and vehicles will guarantee a spark in the eyes. Clothes selected by an adult or practical gifts such as tuition, books, and dorm fees will quickly be tossed aside like socks and underwear on Christmas morning as they hurry off to parties. 

It’s our fault that we are now met with apathy, indifference, and a blase attitude when we have rewarded and celebrated every accomplishment in our children’s lives from day one. Instead, we should have allowed them to merely feel pride in themselves just for completing the hard work. 

Graduation is old hat to the youth of today because, by the time they complete 12th grade, they’ve already graduated at least 4 times. They graduate from Pre-K, kindergarten, 5th grade, and 8th grade, and will graduate from high school, college, and post-graduate degrees. 

They also receive a trophy from every sport their parents sign them up for, whether they ever win a game or contribute in any way. 

We have raised entitled individuals.

Hereafter, set your expectations low. Know that you have served your purpose. You have taught them right from wrong. You have guided and advised them since infancy. Yes, you may be repaid with indignation, backtalk, rebellion, and indifference. 

But also know that these entitled young adults love you and someday they will tell you so. 

Just be patient and continue to love them back. 

And remember…they will always need you…oh, it might be to do their laundry, deposit cash into an overdrawn bank account, dry their tears when their heart gets broken, or rescue them when they run into situations beyond their control but you’ll have the satisfaction of a job well done. We can’t all get trophies in the real world.

Congratulations Graduates.

Well done parents and families.