High school graduation can mark the beginning of a new chapter in a lifetime of achievement. Or, if celebrated irresponsibly, it can represent the final chapter in a life that could have been
Anyone who has spent some time on the high school campus these past few days can feel the excitement and anticipation in the air. Graduating seniors gather in the shade of trees and discuss their plans for the summer and the plans for their lives.
But too many of them also are talking about the parties they're planning to attend after graduation and the alcohol they're planning to consume. In America, high school graduation is a rite of passage into adulthood, and the manner in which our graduates celebrate this achievement will be their first test.
Parents and grandparents often believe that by the time a student is graduating from high school, he or she is done listening to their advice. But if there was ever a time when an adult should try to offer one last piece of parental wisdom, it's this weekend.
Sit down face-to-face with your son, daughter or grandchild, look them in the eye and ask them for a commitment. Say something like: "Will you promise me that you won't drink alcohol or do drugs and then drive a vehicle, or get in a vehicle that will be driven by someone who has consumed alcohol or drugs."
This simple question requires a "yes" or "no" answer, and if it is asked with sincerity, it can be answered with sincerity and honesty. Once such a commitment is made, your teen will carry it with them to any parties or events they attend. Even if you're worried your teen will be less than honest, your teen will know you care, and you'll know that you've done everything possible to keep them safe, short of locking them up for the night.
Even if your teen is in another state, pick up the phone and call them. You'll be amazed at the impact an unsolicited, caring phone call can have on a young life.
As Payson's new graduates head out into the world, take the time to make sure their journeys aren't cut short Saturday night.