Role Models

Role Models

It is Graduation time here in the Bluegrass State, and around the country.  I was honored to be asked to give the Keynote Address at a 5th grade Recognition last night.  The kids were excited, nervous, giggly, everything you would expect from kids getting ready to close the Elementary School Chapter in their stories.  I am so proud of them.


Unfortunately, the saddest part of graduation to me (as has been the case at all the graduations I have attended in the last few years) was the behavior of the parents.  I wonder if they realize that their kids are watching and REPEATING them.  This is what being a role model is all about.  Let me give a few examples of what I am talking about…and I would like to tell you these are hypothetical.


  1. When the graduates are filing in at the beginning of the ceremony, and Pomp and Circumstance is playing, it is not necessary to stand in the bleachers, shout your child’s name, and wave like a three-year-old.  They know you are in the crowd…you drove them there.  Relax.
  2. When the principal asks you to hold your applause until each homeroom is finished, please do this.  Because, when you hoot, holler, and blow your air horn for your graduate, you are showing them that rules do not apply to us.  We are special.
  3. When your child receives their certificate towards the beginning of the commencement time, and there are 100 graduate’s names to be called AFTER your child’s, please do not climb over everyone in your row and parade your whole family down the bleachers to leave as soon as your child gets their certificate.  There are a lot of other people who would actually like to hear their child’s name called.
  4. Lastly, if you do not feel the need to follow rule #3, you, absolutely, should NOT leave the bleachers, grab your graduate out of their class, approach the stage and tell their teacher that you all are leaving to get a good seat in the cafeteria for the cake while other names are still being called.  I wish I was making this up.


Now, I know gymnasium bleachers were not made for adult backsides.  But, your graduate is asking for a little over an hour of your time.  Our kids are watching.  We need to be the adults.  We can not just tell them to behave in public.  We have to model for them appropriate behavior. And, this extends FAR beyond the bleachers of their graduation.  We are the adults.  We are not their BFFs.  We can do better.  We MUST do better, because they will do what we do no matter what we say!


What are your pet peeves at public events?

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