Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mortar Boards and Sombreros

"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that "individuality" is the key to success." ~ Robert Orben

Ah, that time of year when all of the young people across our great nation drape themselves in gowns and wear goofy, square shaped, caps to celebrate their apparent achievement in reaching a culturally significant milestone; otherwise known as graduation.

Whether it be from a college or university, or simply from high school, our society places huge importance on "graduation." We celebrate the achievement of youth by patting them on the back, giving them some money, and then sending them on their way. As a DeMolay advisor, I get several invitations to graduation parties each year, and it makes me feel good to know that the youth I work with want me to be a part of their celebrations. The party serves as a culmination to several years of hard work, and a chance to look into the future and relive the past. As cliche as it may seem, graduations are certainly not the ending of anything, they are in fact a beginning.

They are a beginning of what is going to be the scariest and most stressful part of your life (especially if you're graduating out of school and going into the real world.) Schools do a great job of teaching you lessons that you will need to write a resume and get a job. That's their purpose. All schools like to trumpet how many of their students end up going on to land jobs. However, I posit that this is a really poor measurement of how well their students have done after they have left the hallowed halls.

What I'd really like to know is how many students end up filing for bankruptcy during their first five years after school? How many graduates boomerang back to their parents because of an inability to manage their own finances and maintain a place of living? How many go on to default on loans, blunder their way through interviews, or lose sight of the important things in life? They can't tell you those numbers, and they never will.

School teaches you scholastics. DeMolay teaches you life. It's that simple. There is never going to be a class in high school or college that teaches you banquet etiquette, and I'm willing to bet very few will instruct a person where a cut of meat comes from on a cow. These are life lessons that a person can learn in DeMolay, and as an Advisor it is my job to do that.

While it may not be the most exciting gift to receive, I would recommend that all Advisors purchase a copy of this book for any DeMolay graduating High School or College -

I was given this book by my boss at my first real job. I was long out of college, but she thought the book was good, and gave me an extra copy that she had. Wow! What a book! It covers some really good life lessons, and makes you think about things that were never covered in school. What's the difference between and HMO and PPO? What are my responsiblities when tax time comes around? How should a fellow go about buying a diamond when that special lady comes into his life? What should you look for when renting your first apartment? How should you dress for business casual? This book tells it all.

"So, as DeMolays graduate, and move on in their lives, it's important for us, as Advisors, to change with our members, and give them the life lessons they need to become productive members of society. That being said, I'll leave you with a quote that I find particularly appropriate;

"At commencement you wear your square-shaped mortarboards. My hope is that from time to time you will let your minds be bold, and wear sombreros." ~ Paul Freund

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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