Warning: this is going to make me sound like one of those super grumpy moms.
This year my family had the honor of attending graduation ceremonies for two of my children, one from high school and one from middle school. A graduation from middle school, you might ask? Yes, it is a strange phenomenon that I have endured four times. Now that the last child is moving on to high school, I can comment freely on the ridiculousness of the middle school graduation ceremony.
Mind you, I am not necessarily opposed to graduation ceremonies in general, although I’m not sure the successful completion of eighth grade merits a ceremony. My issue is more with how it’s gone about. Let me paint a picture.
1. The ceremony is held at 1:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. No matter how you slice it, it’s pretty much going to be a half vacation day for anyone who works. I won’t even get into situations in which one parent travels for work or doesn’t live nearby.
2. Each kid only gets two tickets. Most grandparents and siblings are excluded.
3. Seating is general admission style. Anyone who knows anything (with my first kid I was someone who knew nothing) knows to get there early to stand in a line that snakes along the outside of the school so they can get the “good” seats.
4. It’s a dress-up event for the kids. They therefore must be shoved in awkward suits and heels they can’t walk in at a time in their lives when they may not be feeling as attractive or confident as they may wish.
5. At least half the time is spent giving out awards…to the same kids over and over. I’m not trying to take away from the accomplishments of the kids who received all these awards, most of them academic, but most kids do not receive any awards. Afterwards, my daughter commented that she felt “stupid” that she didn’t get any awards (and she was honor roll or high honor roll all 12 quarters).
6. It’s another opportunity for me to realize that I forgot to do one of my parental “jobs.” This time I forgot to get my daughter flowers (I remembered for the high schooler), which obviously means I don’t love her as much as the parents of the flowery children. The day before, she received her yearbook and I realized I had forgotten to send in her baby picture with the cute and loving message. It’s always something.
As a kid, I thought middle school was horrible, and I have the utmost respect for teachers who choose to educate at that level (special recognition to the health teachers who willingly teach sex ed and the sewing teachers who cajole the boys into making boxer shorts with semi-straight seams). The real celebration is in making it through those tough years without too many emotional scars. Let’s skip the ceremony that perpetuates the crappy parts.
Filed under: Parenting