Brandon: Advice from younger days still relevant

By Judy Brandon: CNJ religion columnist

Graduation is this month for tens of millions of high school seniors across the country. Our world has drastically changed since I graduated in the 1960s.

During my school years, working moms were rare. Many people just owned one car, one telephone and one TV.

Never would we be hateful to our teachers because teachers were right up there next to parents and pastors. We respected them and we considered them persons of authority. Our parents had this understanding with us: You mind and respect your teachers just like you mind us.

When I graduated, flower children were just coming into being and I thought then that they were just weird. We were caught up in Beatlemania and the song “I Want to Hold You Hand,” is about the most graphic thing that I listened to. We were worried about Vietnam and hoped that the draft numbers for our boyfriends would be low. But we would drag Main, meet friends downtown, go to Foxy’s or the Thunderbird on Mabry drive, and sometimes even skate at the Hillcrest Skating Rink.

It was a simple time … no MTV, no guns at school, no pat downs at airports. We thought drugs meant aspirins and terrorists threats were unheard of. We received only 10 channels on television, and our parents would not have to put parental controls on television or turn the channel to avoid “graphic” material. If we missed the 4:30 news on television, we would have to wait until the morning shows the next day to receive any national news at all. We spent our days studying, dragging Main, meeting up with friends, being engaged in clubs, sports, band, school choir, attending church and shopping at Safeway, Gibson’s, Vohs, Ann-Lees and Medfords. I would say that Clovis and the world is much different now than when I was graduated.

Even though things were different then, there is some advice that is still relevant advice for graduates today. It was good advice for me and it is good advice for the 2011 graduating class all over the country. This advice is without time constraints and even though our world has changed, these basic principles still apply to us all.

First, be kind. Be kind to people. People who are sarcastic and critical of others may be making fun today of the person who is there to help you tomorrow.

Second, listen to your parents. That sounds simple but it is good advice. I am fortunate enough to have my mother still living and I listen to her everyday. The older I get the wiser she becomes. Parents can offer prudent advice and the perspective that comes with experience. They offer wisdom.

Third, love America and be thankful for your country. We all are enjoying what we have because America was built on the efforts of all those that have gone before us. The best way to be thankful is to be a good citizen.

Fourth, trust in God. Sometimes when everything around me seems to be crumbling, I know that I can always depend upon God. God is more powerful, all knowing, and wiser than any of us are. He also has a plan for my life. Jeremiah wrote: “For I know the plans I have for you, I will bless you with a future filled with hope, a future of success, not of suffering.” Jeremiah 29:11

I have learned that even though the world is changing, I am secure and I have a purpose in life because I have family, friends, a wonderful country and a faith in God for which I am thankful. Good words for any graduate at any time.