Monday, June 04, 2007

Preschool "Graduation" or Why We Are Raising a Bunch of Self Centered Pansies

That's a grabber of a title, isn't it? I thought so, too.

This Thursday will mark my son's first ever graduation. From preschool. Except the kicker is, he isn't really "graduating" at all. He will be going from a three day preschool to what is called "junior kindergarten." But it's still preschool.

So why go through the rigamarole of having some sort of yet-to-be-seen ceremony where they gush about how wonderful he was painting barnyard animals and climing up the ladder on the playground? It makes no sense to me.

I never had a graduation ceremony until I was in 8th grade and entering high school. There was no preschool, kindergarten, or elementary school graduation held at my school. We had a chintzy naming of names and scholarships during the school day, I might add, and that was that. No caps, no gowns, no pomp and circumstance.

And really, I think that is the way it should be. We as a culture are so into affirming our children at the slightest thing that they do. Did Johnny write a barely recognizable letter R? Then let's clap and cheer and reward him with a toy.

Give me a break. I had to work for my kudos, and I think I am a better person for it. And no, I'm not bitter. I just knew that if what I had done was truly my best effort, the reward was in the doing, not the accolades.

Don't get me wrong, accolades are nice, and I don't think we should sneer at Johnny's R and tell him he will never go anywhere in life and why not just start practicing flipping burgers as soon as possible. But shouldn't we save all the fuss for the true achievements and milestones? Soon, we will be giving out gold stars just for the kid waking up each morning.

But Gina, you muse, does this attitude mean that you will not allow your son to attend his "graduation?"

No, because I'm not yet ready to buck the trend so publicly. Yet.

I read the flyer, though, about how I could buy a DVD of the ceremony for the low, low price of only twenty dollars, and now maybe this whole graduation trend is beginning to make a bit more sense.

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