Dear Graduate:

Grow up. Sit Down.

By David Chartrand

To the High School Class of 2017:

Most of you are no doubt salivating about the new experiences that await you as college freshmen. Like eating pizza every morning for breakfast. I am not here to titillate you with such notions.

I’m here to point out the sights and sounds that won’t’ be there when you are left on campus to fend for yourselves.

You’ll know this isn’t high school anymore when you wake up and realize there is no one telling you to:

Get out of bed.

Get back in bed.

Before I count to three.

Turn on the lawn sprinkler.

Turn off the TV .

Get back in bed and I swear I am not kidding this time.

Stand up straight.

Sit down.

Ask your mother.

Ask your father.

Speak up.

Lower your voice.

Ask your teacher.

Clean the "pig-sty" in your room.

I don’t care whose pig-sty it is.

Look at your mother when she talks to you.

Do not look at your father that way.

Don’t eat junk.

Clean your plate.

Grow up.

Stop growing up so fast.

Hurry up.

Slow down.

Don’t do what everyone else does.

Be a team player.

Say thank you.

Say you're sorry.

Look both ways.

Wipe your hands.

But not on your clean shirt.

Kiss your mother good-bye.

Because I said so.

See what you're going to miss? 

You are about to jump into the deep end of the pool of life, to sink or swim on your own. Let no one throw you in too soon.  There’s no shame in waiting until you feel ready. How will you know you are ready?  Why are you asking me? I can’t be expected to know everything.

One last thing: Be not surprised by the tears streaking your parents' face as they drop you off at the dormitory.  They aren’t sad.  They weep because they are hallucinating. All they know is yesterday you were frogs and snails and puppy dogs' tails, sugar and spice and everything nice.

They have no early idea when you turned into this cocky young adult.  It is a surreal, mind-altering experience that will be much clearer to you when your own kids leave for college.

You, too, may cry now and then as you realize how much your family means to you and how well they prepared you for this moment. The future will be clear once you understand the meaning of your past. Stand up for the past; stand up for those who got you here.

But, for crying out loud, stand up straight.

Before I count to three.


© David Chartrand, 2017

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