Saturday, June 12, 2010

Class of 2022

Class of 2022? Is this what Ripley is? This week was Ripley’s kindergarten graduation. She was all tickly with excitement about this, shouting out things like, “I did it!” Hmm? I am always so proud of my daughter’s accomplishments. The first time she walked, poured her own juice, rode a scooter. I adore the wonder in her eyes as she embarks upon new adventures, thirsty for success. But this… I’m just not sure about.

The parenting pendulum always swings in opposition to the previous generation. We are always trying to protect and correct mistakes from our past, only to end up with new mistakes, and a child that will inevitably swing their pendulum the other direction again. Our generation, apparently, did not get rewarded for every accomplishment. We long for our children to feel victory, pride, and acceptance. But are we so worried about their self esteem, that we lower the bar of achievement? My son has learned to put his awards into two categories: 1. Mandatory 2. Blood, sweat, and tears. He know that participating in activities often results in gaining a mass distributed certificate or plastic topped trophy. He also knows that some rewards are truly earned. Not always the shiniest or biggest, these accolades you feel in your gut. This distinction, I hope, will allow my children to feel self esteem and acceptance simultaneously. My first graduation, from high school, felt victorious. My second graduation, from college, I wore a t-shirt under my robe and talked to my friends during the ceremony. My third graduation, from grad school, I went to the driving range and drove a go-cart, finishing the night at a sports bar. I didn’t need to go… even though I’d finally achieved the honor sashes. I finally figured out that success is intrinsic. I hope my children don’t burnout from these many graduations and plastic trophies. I hope they strive for greatness…viewed by others and themselves. I hope they soar. Congratulations Ripley, class of 2022

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