A lesson in respect toward graduates

I’ve said it before. I guess I need to say it again ... and again ... and again ...

It’s graduation time.

A couple weeks on the calendar filled with various awards ceremonies, choir and band presentations, a myriad of senior class activities from baccalaureate services to special meal gatherings.

And then ... the commencement ceremony.

It’s a great time of year.

I love it.

It also, however, is a time I too often find quite aggravating and annoying.

The events marking a young person’s graduation from high school or college are very, very special.

They demonstrate a young person’s dedication to completing one stage in their lives and are something of a starting point for the next adventure.

A lot of kids work very, very, VERY hard to reach a successful conclusion in their high school and college educations.

Most have made at least reasonable efforts.

If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be making their way to the front to collect their due.

Graduation Day is an important day.

I would love to see the day and the people involved given the respect they deserve.

I wish there was a little more civility and a smidge of decorum.

Kids work very hard to earn academic honors, to reach Graduation Day, and to offer a vocal or instrumental performance that show their love for music and the arts.

And in return ...

People to often show up to these very special events and act as if they are out for a night at the rodeo.

In days leading up to Graduation Day, there are concerts and musical performances.

Young people practice ... and practice ... and practice to hit all the right notes at the right time ... and in unison.

Then, while sitting ramrod straight and producing positively angelic music, (in spirit if not in deed), there are always those in the audience who consider this simply a change in venue for an evening in front of the tube.

Unsupervised children race hither and yon screaming their little hearts out each to their own delight.

People stroll in and out as though this is just another open mike night at some local honky-tonk.

Now ... I understand that people must occasionally cough or sneeze. I understand that babies will cry at often inopportune moments. I’m not a complete idiot. I realize that life goes on and things happen.

But honestly.

A little bit of respect for the effort these young people have put into this evening.

Just a little. PLEEEEEEEEASE!

Then there are awards ceremonies.

Young people gather to collect the honors and awards they’ve earned throughout the four years they’ve been in high school.

They’re proud, (although they may not necessarily show it since they also are ever so cool).

And again, as the gathered audience is being addressed by this superintendent or that school board president, the milling about is more reminiscent of a flea market than the occasion it is.

People rarely bother to turn off their cell phones and when those devices do ring they too often realize that this call is light years more important than what is going on up there on stage.

Little kids screech through the area showing off their creativity by making up new and noisy games just as  scholarship lists are being read.

And, sadly, when a given student is finally called up to receive his or her honors, the family of that student figure the evening is over for them and exit the auditorium or gym en masse.

Hey! We all know it’s a long haul.

Suck it up and stick it out.

Your kid isn’t the only one that deserves a salute and your respect.

And finally Graduation Day.

At graduation, young men get decked out pretty nattily — some actually slipping into a tie for the first time. All of them are trying to look their best while dealing with the tensions of the day.

Young ladies spare no effort in putting on the Ritz — getting their hair done and practicing walking in heels without falling flat on their faces.

It’s a big day.

And folks stroll in wearing blurry “If you can read this you’re not drunk enough” T-shirts, clothes that show they just got out of the grease pit, and lugging belly-buster cups of Mountain Dew.

Listen. I don’t think guys necessarily need to wear a suit and tie. Anyone who knows me realizes that.

But clean doesn’t cost money. Neat doesn’t take too much effort.

And I do believe in showing a modicum of respect for what’s happening up front.

I absolutely hate the rudeness we show our young people.

For the most part folks are decent.

But the lack of respect and civility too often given to our kids on these special days, days that are really the highlight of their lives to this point and for some may be the peak of their entire life experience, is not only annoying ... it’s worrisome.

Is this the best we can do?