What Should Grads Do? “Ask George,” says Nan Marshall


Nan Marshall hails from Atlanta, Georgia but now calls Savannah home.

Nan’s new book, What Would George Do? co-authored with Helen Broder discusses the 110 “Rules of Civility” that were first penned in the 1500’s by French Jesuits and later others.  She points out how George Washington used these rules to rise above his circumstances to a higher quality of life.  So I thought Nan could offer some advice to our graduates.  And what I quickly learned, is her wisdom, or rather George’s wisdom, is not just for graduates, but all of us.

Rules 1 and 110

Marshall_Nan_bw (1) (3)Nan began our conversation by championing the first and last “Rule of Civility.”

Rule 1:  “Let every action done in the company of others be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”

And Number 110, “Keep alive that celestial spark called conscience.”

Get these two right and “you get them all.”  I was left wondering what was in between numbers 1 and 110 and how I could get my hands on her book when I was done talking with her.  Fortunately, What Would George Do? is available in Isle of Hope at Cents and Sensibility and also the Cottage Shop (owned by Isle of Hope resident, Beverly Reynolds)

Two concepts rose to the surface in our conversation about advice for graduates:   Reputation and mentors.

Protect Your Reputation

Your reputation is critical in the world we live in right now and it stays around for a long time.  There is no faking it now that social media has arrived.   All of our moves can be documented, photographed, and posted on Facebook or Instagram.

It’s important to be aware of how the constant flow of information affects your future and your name.

Find a Mentor

Look around for mentors.  Thankfully, this is not always one person.  But, you can usually find a council of many that have expertise in specific areas  –- spiritual life, work, family life, and even how to take care of yourself physically.

It might seem a little foreign to a new graduate. You are ready to fly, to launch out on your own. But unless you play it extremely safe, a variety of mentors can help you dodge some of the pitfalls of life or at least get through them gracefully.

I think both Nan and George would agree with that.