Graduation Observations

I went to a high school graduation last Thursday and then a third grade awards ceremony today. This is nothing new to me since I own five kids. Every year a kid is graduating from one grade to the next with ceremonies every time. I completely agree with Mr. Incredible “It’s not graduating. It’s moving from the third grade to the fourth grade!”…or something like that. But every year, whatever ceremony I go to, I quickly realize anew what I woke up to four years ago at my daughter’s middle school graduation: parents are the source of a LOT of their kid’s problems.

There’s not much to do at these things other than talk to the people with you, watch people around you and listen for your child’s name to be announced. The stuff going on around me is what occupies my mind while waiting. “Why do people do what they do?” is the question I am constantly pondering and researching with no answer in sight. At the middle school graduation my wife and I ended up sitting in the balcony of a huge church where we were provided plenty of research subjects.

The first statement after the welcome from the master of ceremonies was “Do not cheer for your child. Please hold applause until all names have been announced.” My wife and I are compliant(one of us is) and understood. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone around us understood what that meant because when their kid’s name was called they applauded, screamed, whooped, hollered, whistled like they were at a KISS concert. During and inbetween names there were people with cell phones going off(favorite adult’s ring tone was “Can’t Touch This”), having conversations using their outside voices, and small children crawling around on the floor like roaches. One guy sat in floor of the back walkway watching his toddler crawl and talking on the phone. As he talked on the phone I didn’t hear anything that might indicate it was an urgent call. It went something along the lines of “yeah, you get the beer I’ll take care of the rest….I know but we’ll throw him out in the yard if he does it again….haha! yeah that was funny”….and on and on. I don’t know why he was there! He wasn’t watching the graduation. The Balcony People were out of hand. It was clear how some of these kids developed their discipline problems. Poor little guys!

The eye opener was when they called a huge number of kids with perfect attendance. I have five healthy kids and NONE of them have ever received a perfect attendance award for the year. It impossible for kids to make it through a whole school year without missing a day or two. So my conclusion on why so many kids get the perfect attendance award is they either would rather sit at school sick rather than be at home or their parents would rather them go to school sick than have them stay home. I know, I know…some kids are themselves driven to be there everyday and what about the working single moms/dads that can’t take off for every runny nose? I may be judging but I feel I’m pretty accurate that at the core it’s an indicator of idiotic parents. Sad little sick guys!

What about this year you may ask? After the same warning to PLEASE be quiet when your child’s name is called, at this year’s high school graduation a mom and dad were ejected for blasting a horn when their child’s name was announced. They were sitting within twenty feet of two sheriff’s department officers and were immediately escorted out. This year’s third grade awards ceremony was retarded. The kids that worked hard got Principal’s Honor Roll trophies and a few other specific awards, about four kids got Most Improved awards, and then everyone received a Citizenship Award so no one feels left out. HOW does more than one person get “Most Improved”? Doesn’t “most” exclude the rest? I was excited for my daughter but I observed parents getting all giddy as they watched their kid get a Citizenship award and snapping pictures as if that’s the best their child may ever do. Only one perfect attendance award which is acceptable.

All I’m saying is nothing has changed. But this Thursday I will observe another ceremony and next year I will suck it up and watch my kids do it again, and I’ll smile and like it.

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