Ok, I said I was going to talk about graduations as rituals so here goes. Rituals are very important in most cultures. With all the traditions, trappings, pomp and circumstance, I think we can all agree that graduation ceremonies are rituals. What fascinates me is the current odd mixture of the old school and new school sensibilities.
As I mentioned in the previous post I’ve attended three graduations this season so I’ve had a lot of down time to think. I’m sure that what was once just faculty acknowledgement has now morphed into half hour self-congratulation fests at the beginning of graduation ceremonies. Please give these people their own party! Schedule an event where they can pat each other on the back for all their intellectual achievements without boring the hell out of innocent families.
Counting the three this year, I’ve sat through at least 99 guest speakers. Or maybe it just seems like that many. We all know these people are chosen for political reasons these days rather than any benefit their words might actually be to the graduates. But why are they almost always so mind-numbingly bad. One year I listened to a speaker from the financial world who gave his speech only to have it vehemently refuted by the next speaker, the college’s president. Then there was the graduation with the old, athlete speaker. ‘Nuff said. I say the guest speaker should always be a student because they’re always the best anyway.
This rant wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the venues. Why are they outside so often (bugs, heat, cold, rain, mud…)? And why when they are inside are the seats always too small or made of metal? I’m always envious of babies at graduations. They can cry.
Lastly, there is the awarding of diplomas. It’s the first time we parents give any thought to how big our kid’s school is and where our name falls in the alphabet. The graduates these days usually text each other while their classmates get the diploma and obligatory picture. (Package prices apply.) Then they dance across the stage ala music videos to the hoots of the crowd. Gone is the solemnity of back in the day.
Well I’m done. I’ve gotten it off my chest and I can move on…. But seriously, in the previous post I talked about the love I felt at each of the ceremonies I attended this year and how important that was to me. The love is always the most important thing. The reason rituals are important in almost all cultures is because most rituals are performed out of love and commitment to family or community.
Although, when it comes to graduations, man, there must be another way!
(As always I welcome your comments and stories. Especially your stories.)