I graduated from a somewhat prestigious university but did not attend the graduation ceremony. Nobody seemed interested in attending. In fact nobody seemed that interested in the fact I’d graduated. I don’t even know who spoke at the ceremony.
Now I wish I’d gone, even if I’d been alone. I had dreams that quickly faded. I’m not sure if any commencement speaker could have said anything I wanted to hear, but I’ll never know.
But now, light years away from those days, thinking about college and the future for the next generation. All of these young people I’ve watched grow up and loved are now graduating from high school and going away to universities.
I would have given a different talk to my younger self than I would for my own children. My kids – they’re different than I was. I raised them differently from how I was raised, I believe they’re smarter and more aware at than I ever was at that age (or ever was when I was in my 20’s for that matter.) Mind you, my parents did a great job, but times were different – really different.
The other night while we (husband, teens and I) were out walking the dog under the moon my 14-year-old daughter mentioned she’d read the first few chapters of Fifty Shades of Gray. I should have been shocked but ALL the kids have read parts of it. They’re kids. That’s what they do. Anyway she said it read like bad fan fiction that girls write about their favorite band members. Then she and her older brother started to talk about stuff they’ve read on Tumblr mostly on their Smart Phones.
My phone is just like theirs but we call it the not-so-smart phone because like all electronic devices it doesn’t work for me.
Then they started to talk about birthmarks and body hair on their classmates. Excuse me? Then I remembered they see everyone in swimming (PE or on the swim team). Yes, it was swimming.
From there they talked about college. I dared not panic knowing that one would be leaving soon for a university on the coast – a new beginning for all of us.
But aside from technology, or maybe with the help of technology, society has changed. So many people say we (living creatures) never talk anymore. I was we talk a lot more. Nobody spoke of feeling or hopes or dreams or desires or ideas when I was young. Everything was shut inside in fear of being proper. Everyone was too afraid of what others would think. They were too afraid to speak up.
And in that fear chances of a lifetime were missed. Being proper worked to some extent but … nobody except artists and outsiders expressed their true feelings about anything. This wasn’t that long ago. Up until the last quarter of the 20th Century everyone was tight lipped and afraid.
Of course it was great for Vampires. It just allowed us to be freer among our food sources because nobody dared speculate on why they were feeling so different after a visit from one of us.
On the other hand I should just quote what one of the seniors put down for her quote in the high school year book. “This was nothing like High School Musical.”
And now a little advice and wisdom for my son who is graduating from high school and his friends:
To the Graduating Class of 2014
This is not the time to be naive or confused. It is not the time for drama. It is not the time to play innocent. It is not the time to put your head in the sand. It is not a time to wonder what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Your children have graduated. Be proud of the job you’ve done as parents and never stop letting your children know how proud you are of them.
I don’t come to you with advice on what you should or should not do. I’m not going to tell you that you will change the world or be a success. I won’t tell you that you are the future of America. I won’t tell you that your generation will be the greatest – that is up to you. And I know you’re up to it.
Congratulations. Have fun. Watch the stars. Don’t forget to take time to play, time to read and time to love. And never forget to take time to learn. If you stop learning you might as well be dead.
Graduation Commencement Speech #2 – Think Like A Mom
You’ll be leaving home soon to make your way in the big wide world. One thing to remember is your mom. Never forget your mom. All of my advice to you comes from mom. So here we go…
Think like a mom. It could be your mom, or the mom you wished you had. Moms know everything, or at least the good ones do.
Love like a mom, because nobody can love like that.
Trouble shoot like a mom. With a butter knife and a roll of duct tape the average mom can fix anything. With a kiss she can fix everything.
Multitask like a mom. Your mom is the ultimate in management. Think about it – she has 1 or more children, a husband and maybe other relatives to deal with. Mix in work, feeding everyone, managing the house, pets (they take up a lot of time), volunteer work, driving everyone to hell and back… and add about 34,000 other things to this list. If you can multitask like your mom you can do anything.
Laugh like a mom. I laugh so hard I cry and my sides hurt. That is what moms do.
Find joy in small things like a mom. Every wonder why your mom takes time to point out bats in the night sky or worms in the ground? And you thought it was for you…
Fight like a mom. No Army General can defend his fort like a mom will defend her children.
Your mom always tells you “Don’t give up.” Well she was right. She will always be right. Never give up. Don’t give up hope or trust or peace of mind. Don’t give up your will to survive. Don’t give up your desires or your dreams. Don’t give up when doors slam in your face. Don’t give up when everything around you caves in, because it will and you’ll have to deal with it. And you can deal with it. Your mom gave you the tools you need to survive and thrive.
So don’t forget mom. One day your own kids will thank you for it.
To the Graduating Vampire Teens of 2014
You’d be amazed at the things your mom finds in the laundry.
One day we’ll part,
In different worlds,
Not so different,
Not the same,
You’ll have change,
I will stay the same,
You’ll have wonder,
I will stay the same,
You’ll have wisdom,
I will see the wonders of the ages,
Except that I will miss you,
My heart a broken mess.
My son wrote that about a year ago. I found it in the dryer. I knew where it was going. Friends mean everything to a teen. Your friends are the center of your universe. You think through your heart. The bonds of friendship will last forever.
Even for us, even when they’re gone those bonds will always be there, keeping you strong.
It never seems fair that they will go before you. It isn’t fair that they can’t stay with you forever.
There are those rare few who might stay – those few you can change.
You will find that over the years there will be holes in your heart that can never be filled, even when you know that your heart doesn’t beat as theirs does. It stills as their hearts do.
I have loved and cherished my regular human friends over the years. I feel honored to have known them. Their path isn’t the same as ours. Their loves are full and rich and wonderful. They have options we can’t even imagine. Be happy for them and cherish your time with them.
I could tell you that it our time to rule the Earth but we’re not like that. We live in the comfort of the shadows, between worlds that they’ll never know.
But that doesn’t rule out anything for you. You’re a Vampire, which means you are human, but just a little bit more.
Dream your dreams of sunlight even when you seek comfort in the dark.
The world is yours. The future is yours. Your heart is yours to love with and heal with.
You are the guardians and the truth seekers.
Cherish your history and your uniqueness, but also know that you can be whoever you want to be.
Yes, you do live in the shadows but remember you are never alone and never need to be afraid.
Congratulations and may every night be a good night.
I was half minded to not post this because I feel like anything a commencement speaker could say I’ve already told my kids. The key point is that they might say it with more wit and impact. Plus sometimes words from someone else will stick more than words from “good old mom and dad.” Oh well.
If I were asked to give a commencement speech it wouldn’t be any of the talks above. I don’t know what it would be, but it would be funny and the graduates would never forget it. Given the opportunity I’d shine because I’d want them, the graduates to shine. Anyway…
There should be commencement speeches for parents. That was a lot of work – raising kids and doing it right. So parents, toss up YOUR hats and cheer.
When they’re grown you don’t stop being a parent, you just stop driving them around all over the place.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman