Students are soon to cross stages in May and June collecting diplomas, validating completion of academic goals. Are they wiser? Ready for adult responsibilities? Top level job material? Do the many zeros of school debt translate into money well spent toward a successful life?
As a former Kindergarten teacher and lover of 5-year olds, I offer 2018 graduates these time-tested rules for life still relevant for the present culture:
Rule #1 – Raise your hand when you want to speak.
No one can listen when everyone is talking at once.
Today, beeps and buzzes from your device signal everyone is indeed talking at the same time. Who is really listening? What voices warrant your attention? Does your own voice matter?
Yes, speak up when you have the chance, and make sure what you have to say is worthwhile. Even more than 140 characters worthwhile. While in the presence of others, take turns talking and listening in device-free mode for quality interaction.
Rule #2 – Stay in your seat.
No wandering around the room distracting others and wasting time.
Today, you still need to know your place, where you can contribute and be found. Show up where you are expected and be a major influence even in your presently small sphere.
Wandering aimlessly through the 20s with real or digital friends doesn’t make the 30s magically successful. Stay put and be productive. Let others know you are dependable and focused and can sit still when necessary.
Rule #3 – Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
Respect others and their space. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Today, does the Golden Rule really work? You have offered kindness and received unkindness in return. Conversely, maybe a stranger helped you for no known reason. Should you embrace this principle for handling human interactions? What is the alternative? Expect respect when you are insensitive and harsh? Look for friendship overtures and invitations when you never extend any?
Believe that kindness and respect toward others will result in positive actions returned. The same model directive for human behavior shows up in cultures around the world.
Rule #4 – Work before play.
You will have to sit out recess if your work is not done.
Today, you may procrastinate or miss deadlines and not be put in time-out or get fired. Inevitably at some point, you end up losing out something desirable, a relationship, a promotion, a timely discount, or a relaxing weekend because you felt you deserved or needed to play first.
God was clearly a worker from the opening page of Genesis and even gave Adam the first job (gardener) BEFORE sin entered paradise. Work is not a punishment to try and avoid, it is the gateway to full discovery of passions, talents, and expression of our being on a daily basis. Plus there is that all important paycheck funding the other areas of your life.
Our character is formed and God glorified depending how we respond to responsibilities. If you hate your job, find another one, but determine to embrace the divine design of work in your life. Friday nights and weekends are a true celebration after a full, industrious work week is done.