Parents how y’all feel? Kids y’all alright? (in my Erykah Badu voice). Are you stir crazy yet? As I scroll my Facebook timeline and see all the photos of the 2020 graduates posted by proud parents, I reminisce about is memorable that senior year is. It is one of the most memorable times of a young adult’s life. I remember being a part of the class of 1990 of Hialeah Senior High (my goodness, I have been out of high school for 30 years)! There was only a small percentage of African Americans there but we made it count. I smile thinking about it. Senior year was full of things to do and preparation for life away from high school, including choosing a college.
There was Senior Day, GradNite (when you could still go at night), homecoming, prom and of course graduation. Walking across the stage when your name was called while hearing your family celebrate by screaming, clapping, and whistling was amazing. To see them cry tears of joy, as you were flashed on the jumbotron receiving that piece of paper as you shoot the principal’s hand. You smile as you looked at the photographer so your parents can purchase an image of that moment to proudly display it on the mantel next to your diploma. After the ceremony you met your family in the courtyard with your school best friend to introduce them. After all, they’d heard so much about them, they might as well have the pleasure of meeting them – even at the end of graduation. What’s next? It’s picture time with all the friends you can find. You hug one another and promise to keep in touch and in some cases you do. I am fortunate to say I had classmates that became friends and are now family.
I am saddened that the class of 2020 won’t be able to experience that. Is 2020 the beginning of a new era for high school graduations? Are virtual-only classes and graduations going to be the new norm? Will we be sitting 20 or 30 years from now telling our grandchildren and great-grandchildren different types of graduation stories and they will look at us in disbelief? I guess only time will tell what the new world will bring about, but until then we celebrate them with car parades, yard signs, virtual graduations and please don’t forget those Cash Apps. I know some are sad that this is the way their senior year ended. But I hope they look at the bright side. They are the graduating class during an historic and challenging time. They are the graduating class getting nationally-televised celebrity-studded graduation addresses never done before. They are becoming adults and having to roll with the punches and make the best out of it – and they doing so bravely.
Parents, as they prepare to head into the world – with even more uncertainty around them right now – Here are a few things to talk to them about
1. Everyone needs an emergency fund. Help them set a goal for a regular savings account but more critical an emergency fund – even if they can only set aside a few dollars.
2. Don’t go into unnecessary debt. Tell them although they will get a mountain of pre-approved notices, they should stay away from credit cards. We have all been there. They are just too easy to get when you are young. Tell them credit scores are important and they should work hard to maintain a high score.
3. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses because it can wreck their life and what they don’t know is the Joneses don’t sleep at night because they’re scared that at any moment they’ll miss a payment and everything will be gone.
4. Check their life insurance. If you don’t have one now would be the best time, you would pay less than a dollar a day for a policy.
Graduates, you have a powerful lifetime ahead of you, plan and manage your money so that you can fully enjoy it. We are already immensely proud of your accomplishments! We wish you the best in your future endeavors.