Yesterday my nephew graduated from kindergarten.
I remember the day I graduated from kindergarten. Each breath was heavy with excitement. My parents’ pride was thick in the air. I felt accomplished.
Oh wait. I didn’t. Because there wasn’t kindergarten graduation. On the last day of school I’m pretty sure my teacher just pushed us out the door, then had a solo dance party celebrating summer.
I’m gonna be unpopular: I think graduations from things like preschool and kindergarten are foolish.
I love celebrations. Yesterday I wrote a whole missive about my thirty second birthday which is pretty freaking insignificant. But you know what? I’ve earned 32. What kid has earned five? I’ve started to feel like this generation of kids is too often spoiled and coddled.
Don’t get me wrong – a baby kid in a cap and gown is freaking adorable. Just look at my little beauty of a nephew:
But if there is a graduation ceremony after kindergarten, why not after every grade? I didn’t have any sort of ceremony until I went from middle school to high school, and then it was called “Promotion,” not graduation. When I did graduate, it was from high school after thirteen years of education (counting, of course, kindergarten).
Mike has always been the cynical one who believes that children should have realistic expectations. I’ve told him he’s a jerk, a downer, a total buzz kill. Who wants to hear that only .0001% of kids make it in the NBA? Certainly not a 12 year old kid whose life revolves around neighborhood basketball.
Yet, lately, as my nephews and friends’ kids have aged, I’ve developed a bad taste in my mouth toward the constant ego-boosting. Both of my nephews got trophies for Little League this year. That’s fine, because they are little (four and six), but I’ve heard that in many Little Leagues today, every kid at every level gets a trophy. What the what? I feel like a total ass saying this, but IN MY DAY we walked uphill to get trophies, and only the top three teams got them, and you had to skin a hippopotamus to get a trophy that was more than two inches tall.
What has happened to me? Have I become a curmudgeon? Or am I not alone in worrying that we’re doing our kids a disservice for celebrating every little thing they do? Are we ruining our kids?