Our society has demonstrated an ever-increasing knack for celebrating the smallest of our children’s milestones. We tell our kids so often how great they are – for everyday behavior that should be expected. We have parties to acknowledge moments in their lives that in any other culture wouldn’t merit a piece of congratulatory candy. Admittedly, there are times when I find this coddling absolutely intolerable. We’re raising a generation of entitled children who don’t realize that praise should be truly earned and not simply bestowed in response to successfully walking in a straight line.
Sophie goes to a school for kids in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Today was her “moving up” ceremony. In a short week, after her last day of school, she will officially be an incoming 3rd grader. This morning’s festivities were the second time we’ve fêted a graduation for her. The first one took place three years ago at the end of preschool.
I approached today’s program with more than a small dose of cynicism. Been through it all with Chloe and will go through many more similar ceremonies before enjoying the ones that really count.
But today was a little different. Maybe I’m softening with age. Or maybe I’m mellowing now that I don’t need to worry about missing work for these events. When Sophie came into my bedroom this morning wearing an adorable dress that once belonged to Chloe and a grin as wide as the Cheshire Cat’s, I started to melt. Just a little tiny bit. A few drops.
And when the six 2nd grade classes started to perform their songs, dances and poems, I continued to melt some more. And when I saw Sophie on the stage, wearing the same Cheshire Cat grin she sported earlier, I realized that this was it. My last 2nd grade moving up ceremony until the girls procreate. And with those thoughts, the glacier that is sometimes me succumbed to the effects of global warming. Real tears welled up in my eyes and suddenly, it no longer seemed like such a bad thing to celebrate these saccharine milestones.