The Graduate | Teeny Manolo

The Graduate

By Glinda


Today my son will “graduate” from preschool.

I feel embarassed just writing that.

I understand the impulse to mark the occasion. Sort of.

But to have a big assembly, complete with musical numbers, to mark the move up to kindergarten just seems a bit over the top. Or, it could just be a reason for the school to charge twenty bucks for the video.

Are today’s children so lacking in self-esteem that they must be given a certificate for every single thing that they attempt? I mean, yes, I guess they “earned” the right to move on to the next grade level, but as no grades were ever given, the kid who licked glue all year gets the same thing as the one who can read one grade level ahead. Or even the kid who never did his homework.

I am sick and tired of the “everybody is special” vibe given out by all the schools. How are we to compete globally if we are raising a bunch of people who got awards simply for showing up? What happened to first place? What happened to the best in the class? Will they begin doing away with valedictorians because it might hurt someone’s feelings that another is recognized for their superior grades?

However, you will of course find me at the special event, probably with my video camera.

It’s the peer pressure.

12 Responses to “The Graduate”

  1. Jennifer in GA Says:

    Lighten up, Glinda! Next thing you know you’ll be telling us about how you had to walk five miles to school, barefoot in the snow, and it was up hill both ways. ­čśë

    I get what you are saying, really I do. But we’re talking about preschool here, and as far as I’m concerned, everyone is special at that age.

  2. Obi-Wandreas Says:

    The problem is that the mindset which would even conceive of such a thing as being worth doing is a mindset which perpetuates this preposterously pernicious patheticness. It is at the point that many of my colleagues are having difficulty with the current crop of student teachers coming up, because they are used to being praised for having a pulse, and don’t know what work is.

    Remember: you are unique and special – just like everybody else.

  3. Chicklet Says:

    Thank you, Glinda! I had wondered the same thing about the spate of pre-school “graduations” and the granting of prizes for mere existence, and chalked it up to my non-parent status. It’s refreshing to hear a parent question today’s attitudes. Next you’ll be telling us you don’t bring your four-year-old to R-rated movies! ­čÖé

  4. Alaina Says:

    Actually, at my high school graduation in 2000, our valedictorian (one of my friends) had to sit there and watch while another more photogenic and popular girl gave a super sappy speech. There’s almost no point to being valedictorian anymore.

  5. dgm Says:

    I hear you, sister. That is the lesson of the awesomely awesome “The Incredibles,” is it not?

    Chicklet, you don’t have to be childless to roll your eyes at the way schools and parents overindulge in their kids. ­čÖé It’s equally disgusting to see how they pressure them to get top grades in elementary school. If a six year old doesn’t make principal’s list, parents must hire a tutor or else the kid will never amount to anything.

    Don’t EVEN get me started…it’s pathetic.

  6. marvel Says:

    Helen: I can’t believe you’re going to miss your own son’s graduation!
    Bob: It’s not a graduation! He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.
    Helen: It’s a ceremony.
    Bob: It’s psychotic! They keep coming up with new ways to celebrate mediocrity!

    I love that movie.

    Have seen some interesting discussions regarding instilling “esteem” in kids, and that today’s efforts of treating everyone as equally specially for doing stuff that should just be expected (like showing up to class) actually creates unhappy little narcissists, whereas helping children work hard and succeed at difficult tasks and rewarding appropriate will actually instill the necessary self-confidence and “esteem” that is needed. Unconditional loving but pushing kids to conquer challenges–a hard balance to achieve as a parent and a society.

  7. Jennie Says:

    Whew! It’s not just me! I was invite to 3 “graduation” parties. From kindergarten! On one of the invites was a list of places the kid had registered! Arrrrrghhh! And don’t get me started on the bumper stickers! “Someone saw my child do the right thing”. Is it that rare that when the kid does the right thing you need to post it? The schools guilt the parents into buying this stuff and the kids are upset if the sticker is not prominently displayed. And the child doesn’t realize this is absurd. They just don’t want to be different.

  8. me Says:

    My dear, you have not seen inflated self-esteem until you’ve seen my school district. I can’t indulge details, but trust me. Sometimes, I worry that with our concern for their fragile little egos now, we’re actually setting the kids up for failure in college, never mind the real world.

  9. raincoaster Says:

    It all reminds me of that Chris Rock bit about the differences between Black People and “that word you can’t use.” I love Chris Rock.

  10. marvel Says:

    I spent a year tutoring a 6th grade child from an underprivileged neighborhood who didn’t yet know her times tables, nor could she write a complete sentence. I spent an entire hour one night listening to her spew back all the self-esteem mantras she had been taught. She was “going to go places,” and “no one was going to keep her down,” because “she was special” and “she was somebody” and she “had it what took” and she was going to succeed (she wanted to be a pro basketball star) and I couldn’t help but think, child, you aren’t going to be able to hold down a job at McDonald’s with your current skill set, and you’re going to think it’s all the fault of “the Man,” when in fact, your school system has SERIOUSLY let you down.

  11. marvel Says:

    P.S. Here is a link to the study I think I was remembering:

  12. J Says:

    Maya’s ‘graduated’ twice now, from Kindergarten, and then from 5th grade. They hold ‘graduations’ from the middle school, so she’ll ‘graduate’ from 8th grade as well. By the time she actually graduates (see, no quotes!) from High School, she won’t even know why it’s such a big deal.

    And yes, I harp against these faux ‘graduations’, and I think they’re lame, but I attend and applaud just as heartily as all of the other parents.

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