So last night I was up past my bedtime for my son's graduation. It was a nice affair with all the pomp and circumstance necessary... the graduates paraded in under the direction of their teachers, the sat orderly, and received a certificate indicating they'd graduated. The only glitch in the works was that the principal didn't sign any of the paperwork as she'd been whisked away on a last minute trip and had just returned to the school with 30 minutes to spare.
My son's teacher said he'd heard me yesterday 'running down' the graduation and I suppose he was right. I don't really see all the need to make this a 'special' day. There were a few extra awards, but all in all it was a celebration of all the kids moving from 6th grade to 7th. Now, they are moving to a new building, so it does kind of qualify, but if we have one for 6th grade, why not 8th or 3rd or 11th? My fear on this kind of thing is that kids get accustomed to being made over for something that used to just be an ordinary moment. We spend all this time celebrating moments in time that used to be just expected. it reminds me of the key moment in the animated movie 'The Incredibles' (at least for me). All the characters in the main family are truly incredible with super strength, super speed, etc. and they live in a world of people like you and me. The nemesis character shows up and in one scene says he's working on all kinds of gizmos to make the ordinary people extraordinary... thereby making everyone incredible, and when that happens, then no one will be remarkable. Isn't that what were doing? We 'celebrate' events that are bordering on mundane so when the truly special days come, they don't stand out because we're already celebrated out.
I won't say that I'm not pleased with my son and honestly with his entire class. They all handled themselves well, generally presented well, and when congratulations were offered, each was cordial and polite. Can't we just make a big deal over big deals? I mean can you imagine getting a particiaption trophy when you played ball? We might as well start offering show up money and go absolutely nuts when a kid turns in homework. I really think ultimately kids will not have greater self esteem as a result of these kinds of events... but maybe I'm wrong. By the time this generation gets to the working portion of their lives, there might be show up money and employers might rah rah over the completion of the day's or week's tasks... but I doubt it.