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Graduation – shall we commence?

June 10, 2012

My oldest son graduated last Thursday evening – from kindergarten.  While this has had the obvious effect of making me feel somewhat old, it also started me thinking about the real meaning of “Graduation.”

What does it mean to “Graduate?”

While there is the obvious ceremony that is called “Graduation,” there are other meanings to the word.  One of them, taken from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is:

verb: to pass from one stage of experience, proficiency, or prestige to a usually higher one

While the event is a very common one at this time of year, the action is not so common.  Let me explain what I mean.

A generation that failed to graduate?

Remember, graduation is also a process of moving to a higher level of experience or proficiency.  Many Americans over the last number of years seem to have stalled in adolescence.  They exhibit several traits of adolescence, including an inability to defer gratification, short-sighted judgement, inability to discern fact from fantasy, and a lack of interest in planning ahead.

These traits have manifested themselves in many ways.  From rampant credit card debt to a gullible acceptance of campaign promises, the evidences are everywhere.  We have sold our future to enjoy our present – and now paying the bill will be difficult.  However, there is hope; we can graduate, move to a higher level, become proficient in areas that were formerly shortcomings.

A graduating society

Our country is faced by many problems.  We have a sky-rocketing national debt.  Prices for goods and services are at all time highs.  Bankruptcies and scandals are common.  However, amid all of this, I noticed about a year ago what seemed a very noteworthy occasion with relevance to our national situation.

For the first time in years, the average American spent LESS than what he or she earned.

This is a huge step in the right direction.  It indicates that Americans were willing to budget their resources, plan ahead, defer gratification until a later date.  In short, it indicates a graduation.  This is a cause for celebration.

Now, I have hope that perhaps this graduation will manifest itself in our current election cycle.  I do not believe that everyone has to think like me.  I would like to see everyone thoughtfully participate in plotting our nations course.  Let’s each one do our part, be responsible, and assist our society in graduating to a position of responsibility again.

Thanks for wading through my deliberations,

Dave

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