With every graduation comes the same warning: Please don't burst into applause when your graduate is announced.

I guess I get it. You'd hate to have your graduate's name obscured by the carrying on of another graduate's family, and maybe if every family did cheer it would make the ceremony too long, and maybe some graduates might not have any cheering. But all of those perceived issues would be eliminated by not trying to dampen the celebratory spirit of the day. Turn up the mic, we'll hear the name, and see it on the video screen, and see them on stage. And who does the ceremony seem too long for? Certainly not the audience. Heck, for some of us--this might be the only moment of celebration...so you can stretch it out a bit. And while some graduates can hear a burst of applause, most are too tuned in to the fact that they are graduating to notice if their family or friends yell out.

Let the families cheer. Let the friends carry on. When I sat in the gym while Katie crossed the stage, I waited to hear her name, and I didn't shout or carry on. To me it was highly personal to just watch her get her diploma. But many others, family and supporters alike, went crazy for her. I enjoyed both of those moments. They each represented to me the magic of completing a momentous task, and the excitement for the future.

It was then that I began to appreciate the adulation other families and groups were pouring on to their graduates. I celebrated with them, and for them. It's a celebration, after all. The gathering crowd are part of the experience, and to try and dampen their resolve is just never going to work. So none of the goals of the organizers of a graduation are going to be met by printing up a set of rules.

I think it might be better to let the audience cheer, and carry on. Carry on.

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