Monday, May 18, 2015

Daycare grad pictures?

"Do or do not, there is no try" - Yoda

I might be considered a bad mother for posting this but I feel like I should make a social commentary. It seems to me in this day and age, rewarding a child for simply being a child is a norm. Everyone is a  winner and everyone gets trophies! It doesn't matter if you win or lose. You get a trophy for participating!  I understand that positive reinforcement works best, hell, I even have reward systems at home but there comes a time, a line has got to be drawn somewhere.

Children don't get held back in school anymore. Everyone gets rewards because they "tried". Too much emphasis is being placed on self esteem. Don't get me wrong, self esteem is a good thing but too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad.

These children are being molded under the idea that it is ok to set the bar low in life. That as long as you "tried" you get a free pass. While this may work well in elementary or even Highschool, what happens at the University level or even worse, when these kids start in the workforce? A boss is not going to understand why you are not getting your work done and how it should be ok because you "tried".

A friend of mine was telling me how proud his son was because he got 100% on a test. It was a dictation in French, The child made loads of spelling errors but because he put all the accents where they should be, he was only graded for that. He did not lose points for the misspelled words.

In my opinion, I feel that it is not solely up to the school to educate children but as a parent, we should be working with the school to ensure our children get an education. It is not the teacher's fault if my kid is failing. I should be helping with homework and finding ways to make sure my child gets any extra help that is needed.I am also prepared to encourage my son to write the misspelled words correctly even if they weren't required.

I work 40 hours a week, by the time I come home and make dinner, I am exhausted. I still find time to help him improve his skills. I want to teach my kid to aim the bar high and work hard, not for anybody else but for his own personal benefits. By working towards something, by improving skills and overcoming personal obstacles is a surefire way to improve/cater towards self-esteem. Only when there is progress, should there be a reward. Not because he tried at something. I fear for the future generations.

I want him to be the best person he can be. I want him to be someone whom he can be proud of. If that means he falls and struggles along the way, that is ok. it builds character. I don't want to protect him from every little thing and I don't want to cushion every little fall. I don't want him to fail but if that happens, it will be ok because he will know how to brush himself off and keep trying. I want to be there for him during those times of struggles and offer support. I want him to know that it is ok to be the last one to be picked at a sports team. It is ok to not get that trophy because he lost the game. Not everyone can be winners, such is the reality of life.

This rant has started because two weeks ago, at my son's daycare, a photographer came in to take "grad photos." Don't get me wrong, I am proud that he will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I am proud to watch him grow up and that he will be leaving daycare. There was a little ceremony at his school and he performed for us (they do this every year, with ALL the kids, not just the ones who will be leaving the daycare) It was hard not to bawl my eyes out and clap the loudest. I will treat him to McDonald's and we will have cake afterwards. We do this every year. On the other hand, grad photos for daycare? I already got the proof and he is really cute and I smile at the look of pride on his face. While I am pondering the fate of humanity, I know deep down, I am a sucker. We all know I am going to be buying these photos. After all, what kind of mom would I be if I didn't? That also makes me angry. That I am sort of forced by some stupid marketing gimmick to conform on society's view. I still stand my ground. I am going to do my hardest to teach him a lesson a little man in green once taught me: "Do or do not, there is not try" Thank you Jedi master, Yoda.

12 comments:

  1. My mom raised me to strive for excellency, and I totally agree that mediocrity shouldn't be rewarded. I really wish the corporate world rewarded competence though. Seems the only people who get ahead are kiss-asses and save-asses.

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    1. Hear hear! Yes and people who often shouldnt be promoted are usually the first ones who are.

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  2. You are right - all these milestones like preschool graduation are just fluff. Ways for people to make money off of us gullible parents. And it doesn't stop - my daughter just graduated from University and the junk mail I got with crap I was supposed to purchase to mark the occasion was unending - from school rings to announcement etc. Wasn't it enough that her father and I had just paid for an expensive 4 year education and that we were flying up, paying for a hotel, etc. to attend the ceremony? Did we really need all the extras? As it turned out - no. It was just perfect without the fluff.

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    1. Oh cool, congrats to your daughter!

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  3. Uhm...sorry, but what's wrong with the grad photos? I mean, it sounds pretty normal to me, because in Hungary, they do it every year since...since like, forever. ^^ I think I get what you mean, but I guess, it's more like a memory, than a reward..:)

    Otherwise, I completely agree with you; I can't phrase it right, but I think, that this overly positive self - esteem boosting trend is unhealthy.
    I mean, low self - esteem is definitely a problem, but admitting your flaws and failures - within reasonable bounds - shouldn't be, because that's what you learn the most from...You need to get a real, perspicuous picture of yourself with all your strengths and flaws...This whole 'whatever you're like, whatever you do, you're perfect' attitude is so misleading...

    On the other hand, I think, there needs to be more emphasis placed on personality types and personal development; Obviously, you should always strive for the best possible result, but you need to take your own capabilities and limits into account too. Trying different things and experimenting is essential in order to find the most suitable path, but you have to understand, that some things are simply not for you and you don't have to be the best at whatever you try...

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    1. Dont be sorry. I dont know how common it is here but it is the first time I see it. Apparently, they even have Kindergarten grad ceremonies. I think this is recent which is what shocked me. Grad photos for 4 and 5 year olds? The kid didnt really get the meaning behind it. He was happy to have his picture taken lol. They are cute and will be a great memory. It is just the big deal that they make for everything. These are valid points you make here! Totally agree!

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  4. I'm all for photos to commemorate the event, but I don't think that completely every grade needs to be celebrated as though these youngsters are standing on the medal podium at the Olympics by any stretch of the imagination. I went to nice public schools and save for (academic) awards ceremonies and a last day (of the school year) party, we didn't do anything in particular to celebrate. My parents certainly always expected us to not only pass, but to bring home very good grades, and our reward for doing so was summer vacation itself (plus $10 from one of my grandpas) and that was more than enough for me.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. THIS! That was my thought exactly! My parents used to do the same thing for me as a kid. I never had these big ceremonies for "passing" a grade. As for daycare, he didn't "pass" but he did learn a lot. I am celebrating that. Not because he is turning 5 in a few months and old enough to go to school!

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  5. Oh, I SO agree with you on this!! When I was growing up, you got rewarded in school for doing things WELL, not just for trying (although they were actually starting that trend even back then). For years now, we in the U.S. have had a horrible school program called "No Child Left Behind". While I believe the original intent was to prevent certain children from getting lost in the red tape of public schools, the end result was that learning expectations were dropped to the point so that the slowest, hardest-to-teach child MUST be allowed to pass. Now we have people graduating from high school who can barely read, write or do math. They have only just decided that it's not working, but now it's too late for thousands of students.

    I have worked in a state university for many years, and some of the written documents from students that I have read have just appalled me because the spelling and grammar were SO bad! It totally sickens me to think that these are our future doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc. And very few of them seem to be able to function at all without computers and "smart" phones. What will happen when the power goes down? I shudder to think...

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    1. Thank you. That is pretty scary what you just decribed. Canada too seems to have this new policy and it sickens me.

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  6. Very well written (again). In Norway it's common to take pictures every year, but we do it at the start of the year, so not as part of any graduation. We also have a policy of every kid being equal, so that means that everything has to be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, and no child can be left behind or race ahead (because then it would be visible that they were not equal, and the politcians have decreed that everyone IS equal). Even the few private schools that excist have to follow this plan. I spent 13 years at school bored out of my mind, and basically got good grades just for doing my homework and showing up to class. Going to University was a huge shock. I mean, they actually made me WORK for my grades! It took me quite a few years to find my footing in the work life too.

    Home schooling isn't a thing here, but I have considered it if the school doesn't give my children what they need. I know a lot of people (both strong and weak academicly) who have not reached their potential just because they were never challenged.

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    1. Thank you, Kara. It is the same here and we do take photos at the beginning of the school year too. The "grad" photos were a shock, especially for daycare. A professional photographer also comes into the daycare in the fall for photos. We get pictures every year to hand out to family.

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