3 Things to Tell Your Daughter on Graduation Night

katwideToday my little girl graduates high school. What a joy she has been to raise, teach and hang out with. I remember her kindergarten interview where she had to be tested for one of the coveted spots at St. Theresa’s. She had fun buns on her head and ankle high “Britney Boots,” marketed for little girls dreaming of becoming Britney Spears. She boldly entered the kindergarten class and announced to the world that she was “Robert’s little sister.”

IMG_4888Today, I have a tall, wise-cracking young lady with a big smile and sparkle in her eye. If I could tell my daughter three things she needs to know for her next adventure called college, what would it be? 


“To thine own self be true.” Don’t worry about what other people think. Do what you know is right. This famous quote is from Polonius to his son Laertes, before Laertes boards a boat to Paris in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Even though it’s pretty old, it still resonates today.


Happiness is not having a boyfriend or being thin. My mom would tell me the worst things when I was my daughter’s age — mainly focused on the need to “have a man” — or that “a man would make me happy.” This must be a throwback to my mother’s generation, where a woman’s identity and self worth were wrapped up in a spouse. Instead, I will tell my daughter that happiness is found within yourself — by doing something that you love. Once you find happiness in yourself, only then can you share it with others.


Don’t worry about what your career or major will be. You will figure it out. Don’t feel pressure about it. Most people going into college that have a major, change their minds anyway. Get your basic requirements out of the way and then after taking different classes you will discover what you don’t like and what you do like.katandrobert

And most importantly, not even on the list — I love you.

What three things would you tell your daughter on graduation night?

Are We Suffering from Too Much Graduation Glory?

csfI think we’re getting carried away with end-of-the year activities.

My daughter graduates high school in 14 days. Between graduation and today, we have no less than 8 events on the calendar to celebrate high school graduation. There is Baccalaureate, Senior Brunch, Senior Presents, Latin Awards, Swim Banquet, California Scholarship Banquet, etc., etc. You get the picture. Before this week, we had Senior Awards, Grad Night, ad nausea.

Am I missing something? Aren’t we overdoing this a tad bit? It is just high school, after all.

Back in the day — the late 70s — we had graduation followed by a party. Period. And our party was held at the local Grange.  

imgresWhat’s a Grange you ask? Here’s the definition. It’s a hall out in the middle of nowhere.

On the phone with my aunt last night, I was telling her how busy and crazy the next two weeks are with graduation activities. 

“Her life is just one big celebration,” my aunt said.


Yep. One big celebration. We started this road with graduation ceremonies from preschool, kindergarten and 8th grade. My son’s 8th grade class of 25 students at a Catholic school spent more than $25,000 for grad night at the local Hilton. It looked more like a wedding reception than graduation with sash covered tables, roses for each woman, photographer, magician and DJ. 

Exactly who was this night for? The 13 year-olds with pimples? Or the moms?

We had a class vote and the kids wanted a pool party or a picnic outdoors. But the moms won and we had the 8th grade grande graduation gala — plus the pool party and picnic.


I’m curious what will become of these kids that are used to glory at every turn — from a trophy for every little leaguer — to a ribbon for each kid in the spelling bee. I have a sinking feeling it won’t be good.

Photos from top: My son’s CSF banquet with friends. A Grange. My daughter’s Senior Prom. Kindergarten Graduation. Pre-K Graduationn. Kindergarten Graduation. And Me — graduating.