Graduation Mind Reading


Attending a graduation ceremony can be a source of entertainment—especially if the speaker drones on endlessly and should have practiced his speech in front of his grandchildren.


Having family members with attention deficit gives me a leg up on knowing the brain circuits of people with wandering thoughts. Those unique people with ADHD have ruminations that flit like mosquitos around the porch light.


While the graduation speaker challenges the fresh-face youngsters to “go out and be world-changers” --and you watch proud parents take almost as many pictures as when their children were born —my relatives with ADHD are imagining what the parents might be thinking.


Parents of the school basketball star: There he goes. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I dropped him off at the door of his pre-school room? When did he get so tall and good looking?


Parents of the honor society student: She looks so confident receiving that award. The house is going to be empty when she goes off to college next fall. Where’s that tissue I put in my purse?


Parents of the class clown: (and my parents probably thought this about my brothers) Well, he made it, even if it was by the skin of his teeth. I hope he left his air horn at home.


Parents of the class clown’s best friend: I know he’s headed for great things. Dear Lord, please make them legal!


Parents of the FFA member: Uh-oh,, he has cow manure on his shoes.


Parents of the cheerleader: Her mascara is smeared.


Parents of the student body president: How are we going to afford law school?!


Parents of the average student: Well, she made it. I guess it was worth staying up all those nights with her, wading through calculus.


When I penned this as a newspaper column years ago, I wrote the following paragraph:


For the benefit of those on the receiving end of the diploma, may I offer a piece of advice? This possibly is the most phenomenal statement you will hear as you graduate: In the workaday world, no one gets paid for breathing. While you are out changing the world, you still need to crank yourself out of bed and do an honest day’s work if you want an honest day’s pay.


Sadly, the world has changed since I wrote those words. People do get paid for breathing now. Ask any employer who can’t find workers because they make more sitting at home, collecting checks.


Smart graduates will realize there is more to life than being on the receiving end of someone else’s hard work. My wise old dad used to drill into our heads this thought, “If I pursue this course of action, where will I be ten years from now?” That philosophy held me steady when things got tough and I didn’t feel like working another boring day. I’m glad I could look back and respect the work ethic given by someone who came up the hard way.


One last piece of advice to the grads, along with congratulations: Go out and learn a skill while you still know everything. You will be glad you did.



What about you? Any advice for the graduates? Use the comment section below.