Men and women of the class of 2013, congratulations on your accomplishment.
Whether you have been in high school or college, you have been sheltered. Well-meaning adults have done their best to prepare you for life beyond book-learning. But unless they have been completely, and at times bluntly, honest with you, they will have fallen short.
Don’t blame us too much. Have you been paying attention to what we’re doing? If you have you’ll recognize we don’t always have our act together.
By now even the kid who spends all his time sleeping in class knows about the Sweetwater Union High School District corruption case. On the one hand you have administrators accused of accepting exorbitant dinners in exchange for favorable contracts. On the other hand you have parents and taxpayers who have already convicted the accused without benefit of a trial.
Presumably we have preached to you to play by the rules and believe in “the system,” but often we don’t walk the walk we talk.
Elsewhere, your peers in a different school district were suspended from school for twerking. Adults didn’t like the way kids were dancing, presumably because it was too risqué. Not long ago, those same adults grew up at a time when risqué dancing was called freaking. Or grinding. Or dirty dancing. Despite their exposure to the naughty cha-cha, those same adults appear to have survived. As have double-standards.
But school isn’t the only place where we adults have failed to shine. Recently there were elections. In election campaigns it is common and acceptable practice for adults to lie, exaggerate, mislead and bad-mouth their opponents. Often times, those who do the best job of besmirching are rewarded with a position that wields considerable power and a comfortable salary. How’s that for an example we set for you?
Away from the halls of academia and politics we take our act to the Internet. Troll any of the social mediums out there: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., and you’ll find example after example of adults behaving questionably. I’m too embarrassed to mention specifics.
You see, what we probably didn’t mention while you were going to school — and what you’ll undoubtedly realize when you are away for a while — is that the pettiness and immaturity you encountered on campus still exists and is prevalent beyond the walls of whatever school you were attending. Unfortunately, you don’t become a better or more enlightened citizen simply by graduating. That’s something you have to work at.
So, welcome to the “real world.” It’s not much different than the one you’ve left behind. But take solace in the knowledge you have the power to change it. Maybe you will succeed where the best of us have failed.