Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2004

Bits and Pieces

Borrowed advice for departing graduates

May 20, 2004

It's that time of year when the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance" are echoing down the highways into small towns and large cities, into school gymnasiums and auditoriums, as well as impressive ivy colored halls throughout our country. It's graduation time for thousands of high school and college students.
Two of my grandchildren are graduating high school this year. I attended the first ceremony Sunday in Ottawa. My granddaughter, Andrea Laws, looking lovely, healthy and self-assured with long, curly hair blowing around her face, strode into the stadium in Ottawa and took her place among her classmates. Along with the others, she waited patiently through the ceremony, which will allow her to pursue what is over the hill -- quite literally -- at Kansas University.
In the gymnasium of Eudora's new high school Sunday, my grandson Parker Laws will wait through much the same kind of ceremony. The challenges of high school have not come as easily for Parker as they have for Andrea, and with a great deal of pride in his achievement will come an additional sentiment. As he collects his diploma, his family will be thinking of Parker and Andrea's grandfather, Don Laws, a long-time teacher in Eudora, who will be watching at both graduations in "absentia" as they say. He died in 1992. How proud he would be of both of his grandchildren.
In a search for wisdom to impart to these young people who are leaving the security of a system that has been home to them for 13 years, I turned -- as I so often do -- to real writers of either prose or poem. I didn't have to think hard to come up with something that I found fitting.
I mentioned a book previously in this column titled "A View from the Heartland," by David Chartrand. I will defer to this author and hope that both Andrea and Parker will find something here to carry with them on their journey into whatever they choose to do.
The following are excerpts from Chartrand's book from a piece on graduation titled "Dear Graduate -- Remember Who You Are."
You'll know right off that this isn't high school anymore when you wake up and realize there is no one telling you:
¢ To get out of bed. To get back in bed.
¢ To turn off the television. To avoid strangers.
¢ To go to bed (and I swear I am not kidding this time).
¢ To quit picking your nose. To wipe your nose. But not on your sleeve.
¢ To help with the dishes. To comb your hair, cut it, or get it out of your eyes.
¢ To make your bed. To stand up straight. To speak up.
¢ To clean the pigsty in your room. To come here right now before I count to three.
¢ To look at your mother when she talks to you. To not look at your mother that way.
¢ To eat your dinner. To take out the trash. To settle down. To grow up.
¢ To stop growing up so fast. To get in the bathtub. To walk. To hurry up.
¢ To check your shoes for mud. To go ask your father.
¢ To dress warm. To say thank you. To say you're sorry. To look both ways.
¢ To wipe your hands. But not on your clean shirt.
¢ To kiss your mother good-bye. Because I said so.

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