YESTERDAY I went to a graduation. Entertaining! The “beautiful” children, the happy relatives, the school staff, and at least two politicians.
(The children were all “beautiful”. Different shapes and sizes. Some dressed up; some down. One girl has new high heeled … … sneakers! Another wore what had to be five inch stilettos that were obviously new and she could barely walk in them. One guy had old sneaks; another plaid beach shoes. Funny! They were “beautiful” because they were almost all smiling. Full of joy. Enthusiasm. Party time. Sigh!)
They showed a photo slide show of the school and graduates. No words just music.
(A technical criticism of the “show”. This is VoTech with an “Arts” track. The music was ill-timed. Or mixed. The audience got restless when the music came to a natural end; the photos kept going. Some music rejoined the “show”. When the pictures began to repeat. The show was stopped. And we were left looking at the Windoze logo. The “show” wasn’t run by a student. <Unless students are very old.> So it was evidence of poor execution.)
The next “rudeness”was to leave the audience sitting there, looking around, wondering what was going to happen. A good ten minutes — I timed it — and there were at least five hundred people sitting there. What a waste. It was rude.
So finally some one got their act together, and the graduates paraded in. It was more like a dual column single file dash to the chairs. With gaps and bunches worthy of any freeway. As a vet of many parades, graduations, processions, it was shocking. And, I understand there were at least three practices. (What did they practice?)
Any way, then came the Pledge of Allegiance …
(The Pledge is un-American. Written by an American Nazi who was a flag salesman. TOo indoctrinate school children and make himself a bunch of easy sales. The whole American education system is designed to create dummies; cannon fodder for the Army and the factories. All designed to be led by the Elite! Argh!)
… which always makes me think. But then what did you expect from a gooferment school? Sure didn’t expect them to sing a hymm. However, they are a gooferment school so you have to expect some gooferment worship to be built in.
Then we got to the speeches. (Oh, joy, oh joy!)
First up was an old Board Of Ed fellow. He was almost impossible to hear. Can’t remember anything he said of value.
(How much in taxes have I paid for this school? The taxpayers got weenied. It’s supposed to be a theater. With acoustics and a sound system that stinks. I’d like to follow the money on that one.)
Next up was the politician from the Middlesex County Freeholders. She was at least audible. Unfortunately. (I really wish I had the text of the remarks so that I could adequately report what WAS said. As opposed to what I think I heard.) I heard some praise for the parents. With an assertion about what was the most important in a child’s development. I guess it was the parent’s willingness to send the children to school. (That’s what I think I heard!) Of course, I disagree. … …
(I’d say the most important single factor in a child’s development is really two co-factors. Parents aren’t a single homogeneous unit; they are a man and a woman seeking to propagate the species. — OK, that’s a side effect of the sought after activity — It is the Mom’s unconditional love for the child combined with the Father’s unconditional devotion to the child’s needs. Different, very different, but both essential. Schooling is way down on the list. And, gooferment supplied schooling is a GIANT negative imho.)
… … but that aside, I heard a lot of praise for teachers. Probably, three times as much time spent praising the teachers as the parents and students combined. I attributed it to a campaign speech for the Teacher’s Union support. The whole speech wasn’t overly long. All that was missing was to say “Vote Democratic” in thanks for your child’s education. As if there would be no education without the gooferment.
Moving on to the Salutatorian’s speech. The young lady was obviously nervous. And, we had the lousy acoustics and the lousy sound system, it was hard to hear. What I did hear sounded good. (My criticism was for the school’s bureaucrats for not having enough practice. She engaged in some banter with her mom sitting in front of us which was … … unseemly. They should have coached her to speak up and not to rush.) Again, I have no text so I can’t really comment on what she said. (I wonder if the graduate could even hear her since they didn’t seem to react.)
Moving on to the Valedictorian’s speech. The young lady was not obviously nervous, but was watching the audience for feedback. She spoke well, despite the lousy conditions. She made some good points about doing one’s best at all times. Again don’t have the text. But was able to hear most of her remarks. (Again not a lot of reaction from the graduates.)
Then, was the obligatory diploma hand out. (More on that later.)
Flip the tassels and march out.
After that it was a disorganized Chinese fire drill. From what I understand the handouts were blanks. The now graduate had to go to a room and find their real ones. (Strange. Disorganized. And chaotic. Why am I not shocked at a gooferment process being so.)
So, upon reflection, I’d have like to have made a speech to the graduates.
*** begin quote ***
I’d like to give you my thoughts on this special day. Success for your generation is: (1) ruthless financial discipline — no bad debt; (2) a life long interest in learning — education — a degree — they can’t take it away from you; (3) a NON-OFFSHORABLE white collar job in order to save big bux; (4) a blue collar skill for hard times — never saw a poor plumber; (5) one or more internet based businesses — your store is always open; (6) develop a second business or avocation – under the radar – start small part-time; (7) a large will-maintained network of people who can “help” you; (8) buy assets that hold their value over time; and (9) emulate the Amish and Mormons for their sense of community, simple thrifty living, and true to core values. Remember the sources of my education: I’m just a fat old white guy injineer with: Law “degree” from watching Judge Judy, Medical “degree” from watching Doctor Phil, Building “degree” from watching “Holmes on Homes”, and Investing “degree” from reading about Bernie Made-off. I wish you the best. May your opportunities be huge, your difficulties minuscule. And, may you remember kindly the old loon who thought you might listen and benefit from his experiences.
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All I could think about when the principal mumbled something about going on to: a job, higher education, or service in the military. Was he left out “McDonalds and Wahwah if you’re lucky”.
Think that’s too harsh.
Remember that In the United States, 8 million jobs were lost — most of these jobs will never return. And, any “good jobs” are being exported if at all possible. And, boys are clearly falling behind girls in both educational achievement and aspiration. This pattern has vast implications for marital prospects, since women express a strong preference to marry a man of equal or greater educational and professional potential. The collapse of the marriage culture within the working class means poverty in future children’s lives.
It’s the first generation that will have to settle for a lower standard of living than their parents.
And, they are going to be saddled with a permanent recession / depression economy like Japan’s two “Lost Decades”. Add to that debt and unfunded liabilities that they will have to come to terms with. And, it’s not going to be good times. (Unless we old fogies slash the gooferment back to circa 1790 – 1830 Constitutional limits. Argh!)
Instead I wrote “my” graduate this email:
*** begin quote ***
May I suggest that you read this?
Too bad you couldn’t have heard this instead of what you did hear. You did hear it; didn’t you? I wish I had a transcript to blog about. Argh! Sorry, but imho you didn’t get the best of inspiration.
BUTT (there’s always a big but) maybe you can take a lesson from the message’s text. (I have!) I thought this was excellent. Wish I’d heard it at any of my graduations or any that I’ve attended; maybe some of it might have sunk in.
It’s short. In addition to being good.
*** end quote ***
*** begin quote ***
I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!
*** end quote ***
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