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Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Change, Connection, Distractions, Lessons, Life | 0 comments

Day 271- Graduating Ceremonies

Day 271- Graduating Ceremonies

Today my beloved participated in his graduation ceremony from California State University, Chico. I am so proud of him for his follow-through and ultimate accomplishment of his academic career.

Anyone who’s experienced a commencement ceremony is familiar with the lengthy speeches, ceremonial songs, and litany of names which defines this rite of passage. It can be a tedious event, and those in attendance eagerly await their turn to scream at the top of their lungs for the moment their loved-one’s name is announced.

While sitting on the bleachers at the Chico State stadium, listening to a variety of professors offer tidbits to the graduating classes, I sensed the urgency that resonated throughout my immediate surroundings. The desire for the talk to be done and the names to be called was easy to detect, and I too shared in the sentiment.

That’s when I had a thought.

The event today was, indeed, a rite of passage.

So why was it so banal?

I reflected on the other graduation ceremonies I’ve attended, and of course, each consist of many people anxiously anticipating a brief moment in the event, but willingly enduring the lectures that precede.

So I compared the structure of the typical graduation ceremony in the United States to what I envisioned a rite of passage would look like in rural or primitive tribal settings …

In my mind, the biggest different I could surmise was the level of participation from the audience. In perhaps a tribal setting, I would guess each person would be more of a participant and less of an audience member.

Okay, okay, so by the time Universities were around and the elite was becoming educated in such an exclusive and advanced mannar, formality was inherent in the establishment of the graduation ceremony. And sure, in my imaginary tribal ceremonies, graduating from college isn’t what I envisioned. But, nonetheless, it made me think of the many ways in which people nowadays are stripped of their ability to participate in celebration and movement of their loved ones from one phase of life into another.

Without community recognizing and honoring the passage—in this case the diploma—it would be meaningless.

So should not the community have the ability to play a more active role in the rite of passage?

What if the opening lectures were meant to elicit interaction from the audience? What if the professors’ and president’s speeches were given in more of a call-and-response-type format? I would presume the entire event would be much more entertaining and the audience would be more inclined to not only show up, but also get involved.

Obviously, no one is going to reconstruct the way a graduation ceremony goes down, but I felt the desire to explore the notion and offer a different scope to peer through next time you find yourself sitting through three hours of self-inflicted monotony.






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