Graduation advice stands test of time

By Judy Brandon: CNJ Religion Columnist

I have been thinking about school days this past week and my K-12 school experience. Graduation is upon us and many parents and members of extended family will sit at the gymnasium and watch as their seniors graduate.

Just possibly this question, “where have the years gone?” will be on their minds.

As I look back and take a look around today, I see a difference in my life, school experiences and those of today. In the 1950s, I was a second-grader at Meserve Elementary School in Kansas City, Kan. I, along with every other girl, was required to wear a dress to school. We also had to pin a clean handkerchief to our dress every day in case we needed it. We thought our teachers had the standing equal to our parents.

Times were simple and uncomplicated. My mother did not work, we had just one car, one television and one rotary telephone. There was no reality TV or guns at school. We never heard of drugs; to us, drugs were aspirins and vitamins. Terrorist threats were unheard of. We had heard of communism but not terrorism. “I Love Lucy” was the only reality show on television and on Friday nights, we could even catch “Gunsmoke.”

Childhood was simple. We spent our days coloring, singing, going to church and shopping at Safeway, Piggly Wiggly or Gibson’s and eating at the Silver Grill. We did not have to dial the first three numbers of our telephone number — just the last four would connect us to our family and friends.

The world is different now. Even though the world has drastically changed since my school days, I would offer some advice to graduating seniors. This advice is as appropriate today as it was in my schools days.

• Be kind. People who are sarcastic and critical of others and make fun of others are not smart people. The person you make fun of today may be just the person who is there to help you tomorrow.

• Listen to your parents. That sounds simple but it is good advice. I am still fortunate enough to have my mother living and I listen to her every day. The older I get the wiser she becomes. Parents can offer prudent advice and the perspective that comes with experience. Listen to them.

• Love America and be thankful for your country. After all you are enjoying what you have because America was built on the efforts of all those that have gone before you. The best way to be thankful is to be a good citizen. That means “do unto others have you would have them do unto you.”

• Trust in God. Sometimes when everything around me seems to be crumbling, I know that I can always depend upon God. Trust in God because he is more powerful, more all knowing, and wiser than you are. Jeremiah wrote: “For I know the plans I have for you, I will bless you with a future filled with hope, a future of success, not of suffering.” Jeremiah 29:11

I have learned that even though the world is changing, I am secure and I have a purpose in life because I have family, friends, faith and a wonderful country for which I am thankful. Those four lessons are good for any age.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: