This is the season when every graduation speech and every newspaper offers advice to high school or college grads. I would like to do the same, but I don't think I am qualified. Is my life so exemplary that I can offer advice to others?
This year, I have a daughter and two nieces who are graduating from high school. Emily Schweigert, from Arcata High School in California, Genevieve Gallagher from Soldotna High School in Alaska, and my daughter Caroline from Fairfield Ludlowe.
Since I am not qualified and they won't take advice from their parents, I looked around for someone to offer sage counsel. Someone they all respected. Someone who was unsullied but possessed a crystal-clear view of things.
I found all those qualities in their cousin, 6-year-old Kane Guest of Kenai, Alaska.
Kane has more than enough advice to give. Sure, sometimes his teachers may question his views or the volume level at which he expresses them. But by the end of the year, they have somewhat come around to his way of thinking. My younger daughter spent 16 hours in a car with him last summer, and by the end of the trip, she had converted. She was a follower of Kane.
His advice for this year's graduates range from several gems on transportation to a few on personal safety and proper conduct inspired by his younger sister, who has a biting issue. Here are 15 pieces of advice from Kane Guest to 2014 graduates:
1. After graduating, work at a coffee shop. You can drink all the coffee you want and you make a lot of money.
2. Be careful when driving. If you cross the yellow lines, you will get a ticket from a police officer
3. Now that you're a grown up, keep your old toys to give your kids.
4. When you are ready to buy a car, be careful because they cost a lot of money, especially a 1980s car because those are really old.
5. Make sure you don't go to jail, or you could stay there for the rest of your life.
6. Wherever you choose to go to college, watch out for poisonous snakes.
7. When you get your own house, get a cat not a dog, because dogs slobber on your clothes and dig holes in your yard.
8. Don't bite people.
9. You can go seven miles over the speed limit without getting a ticket.
10. Don't put your hands or arms near your sister's mouth. She might bite you.
11. If you are in a line, don't worry, the line will get shorter and shorter. You will get to the front.
12. In college, you should have a bike, not a car. That way you get more exercise and you aren't lazy."
13. Don't push smaller people down, even if they bite you.
14. You don't have to watch whole movies, just skip to the good parts.
15. Don't spend a lot of money on makeup. I know girls like makeup. But you don't need makeup.
That is the advice for the Class of 2014 offered by the Class of 2025.
When my wife graduated from high school, each senior left a quote in the yearbook. Many quoted Shakespeare. My class did not have that option We were a poor and illiterate bunch. They couldn't even get the right names under the right pictures. I think I was Janet Morgan.
Our daughter just received her yearbook. Many of the seniors quote Disney movies or Winnie the Pooh. I can see in the future seniors leaving quotes about poisonous snakes and quoting Kane Guest.
Congratulations to the class of 2014 You worked hard, overcame obstacles and graduated. Now go out to the world and make Kane proud.
Thomas Lawlor lives in Southport with his wife and two daughters. His "A Father's Journal" column appears every other Friday.