Monday, June 06, 2011

Thirteen Years. That's How Long It Takes To Get A Cap And Gown.

It's June. Graduation season. Many people are celebrating their children leaving one institution, knowing that in just a few short months, they'll be entering another; hopefully, it's college and not jail. Watching your child go from high school to college is pretty normal.

What's NOT normal, are kindergartners in caps and gowns and kids having "graduation ceremonies" to go from fifth to sixth grade. What the hell is that?? Why are children getting "diplomas", wearing a cap and gown and receiving expensive "graduation" gifts for doing something they're supposed to do?
Rewarding a kid for this just gives them a false sense of accomplishment; they haven't really done anything. And in the case of a kindergartner, they've barely learned how to write their name, what makes them deserve a cap and gown?? Or even a ceremony for that matter.

We should reward children when they EXCEL, not when they do something every kid in the country does. You're supposed to go to school. And you're supposed to advance from one grade to another. That's how it's done. You don't get any special prizes, ceremonies or kudos. A "nice work, honey" here or a "good job, buddy" there is fine. You can be proud of your five-year-old's coloring prowess or time-telling skills. You can be happy your fifth-grader didn't get put in detention all year. That's all acceptable.

But to have a big ceremony because a kid went from one grade to the next? Ridiculous. Cap and gown? Absurd. And people who spend their hard-earned money on a cap and gown for their kids? Idiots. If people keep rewarding their children for being mediocre, or just doing what's required of them, those kids are going to grow up and expect everyone to treat them like rock stars for doing what they're supposed to be doing. They become the one who thinks all they have to do is show up at work to get a paycheck. It's bullshit.

You get rewarded when you excel. When you go above and beyond. When you're exceptional. And you get the cap and gown when you graduate high school or college. Or better yet, Med School.
Robert Brooks, faculty psychologist at Harvard Medical School said, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments.”

Moving from one grade to the next does not qualify as a real accomplishment.


Gil said...

I remember my father telling us when I graduated from grammar school (1958) that it was a big thing as many of the kids were poor and probably not have another graduation to celebrate. This is when I was wondering what the heck was the big deal about graduation! The celebrations are now totally out of hand.

Bonnie said...

LOL! I totally agree. But the first I ever heard of this issue was when watching the Disney movie The Incredibles. The parents have a fight about attending their son's elementary graduation ceremony, and the dialog is practically what you wrote above! I still can't believe the hoopla people go through these days for changing grades...

MAE said...

I absolutely agree! Glad you wrote about it. Well done too!lol

Wayne said...

Part of it is that the "Participation Trophy Society" has taken over. But the another part is pictures. Profe$$ional pictures. Don't you want a quality picture of little johnny in his cap and gown to show the grandparents? It might be the last time you see him in one.