Graduation Gifts that Keep Giving

Photo by CarbonNYC

Photo by CarbonNYC

Caps, gowns, and sitting in bleachers until one special person walks across the stage is a popular activity at this time of year.

I have several graduation announcements all begging for perfect gifts.  But what are they?

  • A friend says she gives a small, black velvet bag with golden one-dollar coins inside.
  • Another swears by the good ol’ Cross Pen set
  • Probably the most logical advice I’ve received was:  “Give ‘em money. Everybody loves money.”

But I would like something more enduring. Something that would inspire hope in a dark period of life, because when you’re first starting out on the adult trail, you can expect that around one of the bends is a shadowy passage.

It made me think about what I received for graduation a million years ago.  I could have really used luggage, but I didn’t get any. I did get pens and money.  And I remember a thin, golden book called Apples of Gold. It was full of quotes and words of wisdom.

I didn’t read it until I was in graduate school. I probably didn’t think I needed it until I hit one of those dark nights of adult life.

Lisa of Tao of Webfoot says she still remembers a version of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” that had been adapted and given to her.

So maybe when we’re in grade school “Sticks and Stones may break our bones….

But when graduating into life…..

The gift of words have the power to inspire, heal, and give hope for a very long time.

What do you remember about your graduation gifts?

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About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
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7 Responses to Graduation Gifts that Keep Giving

  1. girldogtorch says:

    I got a small piece of luggage. I hadn’t really been anywhere yet, so I felt very pleased by it– like, “Look, they think I have glamourous places to go.” I like to give first edition books, if there’s one that matters to the person.

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  2. Lisa Nowak says:

    Other than that “If” poem in a card, I really can’t remember what I got. Some money from my aunt was probably the biggest thing. And a terrible sunburn. There was some weird deal a few days before I graduated where all these people in Portland got really bad burns while sunbathing. It was one of the very few times I’d engaged in that highly boring activity, and I got fried. These burns were so bad that people were going to the emergency room. My mom said, “it’s your own damned fault,” and made me suffer through it on my own. It hurt so bad I could hardly sleep, and the tops of my legs were so burned that I couldn’t bare to sit on the toilet for at least a week. I had to hold myself up with my hands to pee! On graduation night my so-called friend Sherri, who was seated beside me, reached over and dug her fingernails into my back through my gown. These days I am a little more selective in the type of people I have for friends!

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  3. Roxie says:

    What I really would have loved was to hear the words, “We’re so proud of you!” That’s a gift I would have treasured life-long. But they came to graduation and they posed for photos, and that was their way of expressing pride in their girl. Anyhow, I was proud enough for all of us.

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  4. Barb says:

    Yeah, Rose. I kept a journal too. Sometimes I shake my head at my younger self if I go back and read from it. Do you?

    I finally settled on computer stuff as gifts. It seems every kid has computer needs. It’s not enduring, but it is useful…at least for a couple of months.

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  5. Barb says:

    I’m so sorry Roxie. What a loss to ruin a brand new watch.

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  6. Roxie says:

    My parents gave me an expensive watch, and I got shoved fully clothed into a swimming pool the next night. Bummer!

    A journal only works for people who write. Cash, though welcome, sure isn’t very memorable. A friend got a US savings bond from her grandma, forgot about it for years, and when she found it, it had matured quite nicely. Several life lessons in that one!

    How about a “Survival Guide” with ideas on how to decorate on a shoestring, 17 things to do with Ramen, how to get out stains, and a list of emergency phone numbers? (Mom, the Foster Farms turkey Hot-line, Advice/triage nurse, etc.)

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  7. roselefebvre says:

    When I graduated I also received monetary gifts, albiet small ones as my extended family members were in the “slim pickins” category. I also received cards, a necklace from mom and dad, a bookmark, a nice pen, a handkerchief from grandma, and a journal.
    The journal was there to share my tears, smiles, disappointments, joys, crushes on boys, wishes, dreams and hopes. I shared secrets I could not share with anyone else.
    I wrote words of anger that I could not voice. I practiced writing my first name with the last name of the boy I was “in love” with at that time.
    That journal helped me get through many difficult days, feelings and events.
    And I was so thankful for having it to release all I felt.
    It was the best gift I ever received!

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