I’m always interested in non-clothing examples of immodesty, and this might be a good one.
At a school in Maine this year, students who engaged in attention-getting behaviors were denied their diplomas. They were warned ahead of time, apparently, perhaps making this situation at its heart not about modesty, but about submission to authority (as so many examples of immodesty are).
I’m not really interested in whether they followed the rules or whether the rules were clear. Apart from the root issue of submitting to authority, I’m curious about the behavior. What if nobody had issued an edict against grandstanding? What then?
Perhaps this student interviewed really was intending to draw attention and give credit to his mother, as he states. In reality, he drew attention to himself. Since modesty deflects attention away from self, he might have been unintentionally immodest, but he was immodest all the same.
Now, it could be argued that if there were any time to applaud the individual, it is at graduation. It might be argued that the school should allow a little attention getting behavior, since, after all, these students have worked hard and achieved something. The problem with this argument is that the organization of graduation ceremonies tend to balance recognition of the individual with consideration for the group. A small graduation of 10 seniors wouldn’t be adversely affected by cheers after each name is called. A graduating class of 100 would be. Cheers for one student make it hard to hear the next student’s name being called.
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with an informal graduation. Dispense with the cap and gown, if you like, give each senior a shout out, and let them all scramble up to a table to receive their diplomas.
But if the occasion is a ceremony, solemnly giving respect to the accomplishments of students, then the attention-getting cheers and behaviors actually show disrespect for the students and the audience. There is a time for serious reflection. Taking the time to be serious actually heightens the recognition and respect for the individual. The day is set apart. It is not thrown together in a jolly sort of impromptu scramble.