All children should have either heard this from their parents or been bright enough to NOT have needed to hear it: Do NOT embarrass me, or our family in public.
But it is clear that the message is missed by a lot of high school and college graduates each year. I get that commencement represents freedom and in the minds of some young people a chance for them to express their joy without fear of punishment. You remember how it felt when you first turned 18 or returned to your parents house after a semester at college believing that being grown meant you know longer had to adhere to the rules?
Whether it’s spontaneous bliss, something that had been planned for years or temporary insanity, there’s something about the day that brings out the bizarre. It was one thing when friends and families took a snap shot that would end up in a shoe box or in a photo album on auntie’s coffee table but now your kids’ antics can get national or even world- wide attention…forever.
A photo of an African-American young woman breastfeeding her daughter at graduation has gone viral. She’s standing proudly with her gown open with her beautiful daughter contentedly latching on to her breast. It may have seemed like a good pose at the time, but I’m not sure if it’s something that should live on in perpetuity. In fact, she’s since deleted the photo from her Facebook page.
I’m certainly not against breastfeeding in public, but now one of the biggest days of her life is taking a back seat to her right of freedom of expression. Whether she’s right or wrong is certainly up for debate. But some of the things listed below should just be put to rest.
Here are 5 Things Grads Should NOT do during their Graduation Ceremony
- Wear flip-flops: Walking across the stage with all eyes on you is daunting enough. Risking the back of a rubber sandal getting caught in your gown isn’t worth going down in history as the person most likely to go to the emergency room on graduation day. C-minus
- Yell out a cuss word: First of all, we all have cable and are no longer shocked by four-letter words. As soon as you sober up you’ll wish you could get a do over, but just like on that American Literature final, you can’t. D-minus
- Dance across the stage. Perhaps before thousands of cute dancing animals and babies were being posted on YouTube, watching you bust a move as the dean hands your diploma might have been special. Now, not so much. F
- Throw it up: Fraternity, sorority, gang, and secret society hand signals are only special to your particular organization. But if you must represent, make it quick and keep it moving. C-plus
- Streak: This is so 1970s. Think about it this way. Most of the people at the graduation and maybe a few in your graduating class and a faculty member have already seen you naked. Whether they’ve changed your diaper or dated you (or both…who knows these days?) unless you’re Idris Elba, we don’t need to see what’s under that gown. D-plus.
If you’ve seen or taken part of a graduation ceremony antic worth sharing post it here. And tell me what you think of the breastfeeding mom as well.
The majority of people graduating have worked hard and are looking forward to taking part in the momentous occasion without being upstaged by attention seekers. Remember potential employers and others who will make decisions about your future are very likely to check out your graduation pictures and videos. So maybe the best place to celebrate in an outrageous way is away from cameras. Oh, but wait, that isn’t possible! Congratulations Class of 2014!