Graduations are becoming almost a cottage industry. We have graduations from kindergarten, grade school, middle school, and of course high school and college. By the time a child graduates from high school these days, they have already graduated three or more times. These graduations may seem a bit overdone, and too focused on marking every achievement. On the other hand, why not celebrate victories where we can.
The New Normal
It is interesting to me that in an era where we question whether there should be winners or losers in sports we also celebrate graduations. There are awards at these ceremonies. Thus, some children walk away with more motivation and accolades than others. A cynic would ask whether these graduations damage the self-esteem of the children. Of course, there are those that want to take away the idea of a valedictorian or even class rankings. Again, all in the name of protecting our babies from bad news.
How Much is Too Much?
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must say I hate graduations. I am not a fan of ceremonies in general, and those that amount to reading a list of names are my least favorite. However, there is something to be said for marking milestones and noting achievements. Whether it is an honor roll student, one that did the most community service or even one that simply attended class every day. Kids have some many struggles that finding some wins can help and might eve be needed. These milestones give children a finish line to hang their hat. They may seem like little victories to us, but they mark significant achievements in this short lives.
Let us not forget the parties. A graduation is a cause for celebration. Thus, there is either a dinner out, a party at school, or a get-together at home. In each of these cases, we have an opportunity to create some great memories and to come together as a family. We are celebrating our fifth high school graduation in as many years, and it has been a struggle at times. Planning for a party every year is exhausting. However, the party itself has always been an entertaining time. We get to celebrate our child, their achievements, and then look forward to their next steps. These are opportunities to inform and maybe even guide our children by sharing our successes and failures. Include some stories about yourself at that age while talking to your child. It will remind them that their milestone is one shared by many others that have gone before them. This milestone is not a finish line. Instead, it marks the start of the next exciting race.