Teachers, valedictorians and school administrators spoke at your high school graduation and offered advice like go to college, get a job, work hard, pursue your dreams, and travel. This is great for most graduates but just the tip of the iceberg. Since they did not ask me to speak at commencement, now I offer graduation advice for my daughter. It includes the little stuff that people often forget to mention that makes life meaningful.
Congratulations! Today you have achieved a major milestone, graduation from high school. You’re moving onto a new chapter in your life, one filled with great adventure and the unknown. At times you may be scared and question all that you know as fair and just.
As you begin this new chapter I have graduation advice for you, most of it is common sense. Remember all the times I told you to pay attention and you ignored me? For your sake, I made a list to refresh your memory.
Pick up after yourself
Return things to the place that you found them. When you leave this house, maid service ends. From now on, unless you are staying at a hotel, the crap you put on the ground stays there. Forever. Or until you get around to picking it up. Don’t be the slob roommate in college. Represent yourself in the best light possible. We taught you way better than that. You only have one chance at a first impression.
Treat your siblings with kindness
Your brother is your closest blood relative. You will need him one day. It’s important to maintain a relationship with siblings. That means treat each other with respect and love. When you throw off-handed comments, or insults, it can leave deep wounds. Love one another. When your father and I are older, you will need a shoulder to lean on. I am an only child and wish I had someone to turn to when dealing with my parents, as they grow older.
Be careful of social media
Never put anything on Facebook, Twitter, email or any social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read. I know it is easy to get caught up telling the world about your latest achievement, biggest failure, and the type of sandwich you ate for lunch. Keep in mind, the pictures you post now may seem cool, like one of you after too much alcohol or freak dancing, but will come back to haunt you later, I promise. One day you will interview for a job, God willing, and a potential employer may come across that picture. The job you thought was yours will go down the drain. Don’t do anything that can limit your potential.
Keep the laughter
Humor makes difficult times more manageable and great times even better. Surround yourself with people who have a sense of humor. Never be too old to pull a prank or tell a knock-knock joke.
- The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. — Mark Twain
- The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. — E E Cummings
- Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron
- Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh. — W. H. Auden
Put your hair up in a ponytail
When preparing food keep the locks tied up. People don’t want to eat a hairball. Take it from me, this advice in invaluable.
Use moisturizer with sunscreen on your face everyday
I can attest to the importance of properly treating your skin. Growing up in the 70s, sunscreen came in two types, SPF 2 and baby oil with iodine. Both of these were horrible for you. But as a kid, I didn’t know any better. Around 20, my mother got diagnosed with skin cancer and that was my wake up call. From then on, I avoided the sun with a hat and layers of sunscreen. Learn from my mistake and cover up. Avoid the sun.
Treat others, as you would like to be treated
Never act a snob. Don’t con yourself into believing you are better than someone else. Remember that waitresses at Chili’s? You never know, that could be you.
Make a sincere apology
A bad apology is worse than no apology. Forget about the lame ass apologies like, “I’m sorry you’re mad.” That’s the worst one I’ve ever heard. You’re sorry that they are mad? As if you had no accountability? I learned from Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, a proper apology has three parts. First, admit that what you did was wrong and say, “I’m sorry.” Then let people know that you feel badly that you hurt them. Next, ask how you can make them feel better. You will keep friends for life this way.
Give your friends and family the attention they deserve
Do not use your cell phone or any other electronic device when others are speaking. Their time is valuable too. You show disrespect when you stick a cell phone in front of your face when others are talking. Who do you think you are to talk to others and texting at the same time? The Kardashians?
Pick the same qualities in a date as you would a future mate
Listen to your gut. If that guy on the dorm floor is always in a bad mood, don’t think that you can change him. Find a guy you can talk to and one that makes you laugh. A sense of humor will conquer many obstacles because life is too short not to be happy. When you think you met the man of your dreams, pick carefully and treat kindly. Take your time. This is one of the most important decisions you will make in your entire life.
Nothing is free in life
Lastly, remember that nothing is free in life but your parent’s love. And never let anyone rain on your parade!
I love you, Mom
Need more advice from mom? Read That Perfect Letter from Grown & Flown http://grownandflown.com/perfect-letter-to-college-kid/
Need More Laughs?
Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives is available on Amazon and eBooks. It’s filled with stories about crazy families, holiday chaos, school disasters and more. Hoping to make you laugh one story at a time. Get your copy now!! Click to purchase on Amazon.