49 Forever

For some reason this morning when I was luxuriating in my nice warm bed I started to think about graduation (which is today and we were very lucky to be invited). We both used to teach so it still remains a special day.

Then I went back to my own graduation and slowly came down through the years.

When I graduated the school did not have any graduation ceremonies. The Students? Union sponsored a dance and rented a dance hall downtown. If your memory goes as far back as mine (that?s a politer way of saying ?if you as old as I am?) and came from Edmonton you will remember the Tivoli. If you didn?t have enough money or didn?t have a boyfriend you just didn?t go. No big deal. No bursaries, no awards. The school did give out academic and sports pins but not in public. Your home room teacher had a list and just handed them out as she marked the register.

That simple activity (or lack of activity) has morphed into today?s important event and we are really looking forward to going.

Going back to my youth, the word graduation comes in several times but never with a big bang.

I graduated from high school just before my seventeenth birthday so my parents (rightly so) felt I was too young for University so dispatched me to McDougall high school to take a one year commercial course. This was really a very good choice because I learned to type–but not very well. Graduation from there was not a big deal. The ?big deal? that year was the declaration of war which to me meant that my high school friends were all just the right age to join up. So, periodically, I heard of someone being killed or wounded.

I went from there to university (Alberta) and the war really had an impact there. We started out with 30+ students but by the second year there were only 11 of us. Some had dropped out to join but most had not achieved high enough marks to escape being called up. With such a small group we became close friends particularly the three girls. Actually we 8 survivors (including all three girls) celebrated at the 2003 University homecoming.

I later went back to university to take Education but that was such a large class that I can?t remember any of them or anything about graduation.

In any case I think graduation is often a celebration for parents. It is often the parents who keep their kids; helping with homework, making the students do it; making them realize that ?graduation? can open the door to jobs and further training. Years ago, when I was teaching in Dawson Creek I taught a course to grade 11s and 12s about getting and keeping jobs so I went to several businesses to see if they would talk to a student about interviews. To my surprise, the manager of Peavey Mart said that the first thing he asked was if they had graduated from high school. He went on to say that he had jobs that really didn?t require Grade 12 but he knew that if a student had stuck it out to the end of Grade 12 he probably would stay at Peavey Mart too. And, he was right. Graduation means more than finishing Grade 12. It indicates that a person has developed a certain amount of maturity; he/she is expected to be able to make wise decisions about what to do next with his/her life, he/she is expected to be mature enough to make wise choices in his/her personal life–even on Grad night.

As parents, you know all about the parenting job so Congratulations to you all who have guided your kids to this stage. But, believe me, there will be times in the future that they need guidance. If you are a lucky parent they will come to you.