Awhile back, I heard a song on the radio and I thought, “Oh, that would make a great graduation speech.” The tune is fairly simple, as is the chorus that imparts basic ideas that can relate to pretty much any situation any of us has to deal with. So, of course, my second thought was, “I’ll have to use this for a post during graduation season.” So here we are in the middle of May and our FB feeds are flooded with happy pictures of kids in caps and gowns and so it’s time.
Graduation season is always a time of super saccharine advice doled out on super optimistic young people, generally to the tune of Pachelbel’s Canon in D (remember this song?). There was a recent headline in a local paper about advice given to Connecticut college graduates – something like, “You are stewards of the environment.” I mean… how is that helpful in any practical way? Is the environment going to pay back your student loans? Is the environment going to let you live in its basement for the next five years (well, I guess maybe…)? If I were advising our young people in the form of a graduation speech, I’d tell them to put aside any bad feelings about country music and listen to the words of Kenny Rogers. No, I’m not saying we are all islands in the stream (but, I guess that works, too). Listen to his song The Gambler from his Grammy-award winning album of the same name. Or just focus on the chorus which tells it like it is:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
And that’s pretty much all you need to know in life. Right? And for any of the bright-eyed kids looking at me with glazed over eyes, I’ll just give them a copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and move on.