Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Preschool Graduation

Well its official - my baby has graduated preschool. Put away your Kleenex, it's okay, really.
Funny thing is, I didn't know she was actually IN preschool.

Come to find out, she has been in preschool for exactly 2 weeks. She turned 5 over Memorial Day weekend, and moved from the "4-year-old class" to Pre-K, aka Preschool.

Two weeks!! And graduating already!! My Lulu, preschool prodigy. Takes after her mother, I'd say...!

It was all very cute, in an eyerolling kind of way. The kids had fun, sang us some songs, pictures were taken, there was cake and punch. Most of the parents stood around and chatted, probably about their little geniuses. I was amazed at how many people seemed to be thoroughly caught up in the whole affair.

We busted out as fast as possible. The fanfare was borderline nauseating.

We had just endured what JeepMan calls a "Hallmark Holiday." An occasion made up for the sole purpose of selling a product. Now don't take this literally... I am not saying that Preschool Graduation was created for the selling of merchandise, but to me it illustrates the penchant for today's society to, as a friend of mine bluntly puts it, "glorify mediocrity."

Some of you just gasped.

You think I am calling my daughter "mediocre." Well, I suppose I kind of am. Webster defines it as "Of moderate to low quality," with a synonym of "Ordinary." Now I'm not calling Lulu "low quality," but in the vast spectrum of humanity, I suppose she is pretty ordinary. I mean, the kid is FIVE. Of course she's special and precious to us, and those who love her. But do I expect others to see her that way?

You might say, "Of course!! Each child is precious and special and unique and wonderful!!" And I wouldn't argue with you. What you are likely implying, though, is that each child should be TREATED as special and unique and wonderful. And that's where I would have to politely disagree. I wouldn't presume for you to actively recognize and applaud my child's fabulousness with enthusiasm. The fact is, all children being unique, special, and precious... well doesn't that put them all on the same shelf?

See? In the words of one of my favorite Demotivators: "Always Remember That You Are Unique. Just Like Everyone Else."
Call me a kill-joy, party pooper, whatever... I just don't see the point of celebrating all these so-called "milestones." Its not for the kids. Lulu doesn't have any clue what just happened, she just knows we took her out for a Frosty afterward. And guess what? She and all her friends will be right back at school tomorrow like nothing ever happened. Its for the parents, and looking around the crowd at this gala event, there were two kinds: freakishly enraptured and checking their watches. Not much middle ground.

To me a milestone should represent a pivotal point in the life of the person experiencing it. Birth, death, yes. Marriage, sure.

Graduation... I suppose, but don't ask everyone and their friends' friends to celebrate with you. It makes people feel obligated and generally annoyed. Oh, they may come, but believe me, they are bored out of their minds.

Now I don't assume I speak for everyone, but I certainly speak for many and likely a majority when I say that your graduation, or your child's graduation, is really only monumental to you, your child, and perhaps grandparents or very close relatives. To anyone else, it's 2 or more hours of life that they will never recoup. And be it known that I speak of high school graduation, or possibly college.

Not Junior High. Or Primary School. Or Kindergarten.

Or Preschool. Seriously, people.


Susan said...

While admittedly, some people really go over the top, I still like these kind of things...I don't think it is a question of mediocrity so much as a matter of celebrating moments, however small, which I think is kind of cool.

Travis Erwin said...

I want a frosty.

JaneyV said...

The silliness knows no end does it? Still you do a magnificent Mr Incredible impersonation!

I'm sure Lulu will love kindergarden.

Monnik said...

I must be a total sap because I love these kinds of things. At my son's preschool graduation, they sang patriotic songs and dressed up in their homemade cardboard graduation caps. (Guess it was a combination of graduation and pride in country event.) I sobbed like a baby listening to my little man singing "You're a Grand Old Flag."

For me, it's not celebrating mediocrity, it's celebrating life's happy moments and milestones, no matter how small. I think it also helps make change seem like something to celebrate rather than something to be nervous about.

And finally, I also think that events like this force parents to take a break from their busy lives to focus on something that makes their kid feel recognized for a bit.

I can see where it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but I have to admit to loving these goofy, cheesy, sentimental rites of passage.

Whew. I'm terribly long winded today.

Irish said...

I do believe it is Over Glorifying Mediocrity... Are we proud of our children when they receive such achievements? Of course!
But it just seems to me these days we set our kids up with a unrealistic outlook on life... We want to hold celebrations for the smallest of achievements without teaching them the merits of Failing, so therefore you can see ... the youth more an more these days entering adult life with a air of Self Entitlement... And then if they Fail they never walk away learning from there failures, but instead walk life crying the Victim Card.

writtenwyrdd said...

I agree that some of these milestones are ridiculous. The kid doesn't really get anything out of these mini graduations except a sense that "Party!" is the new black or some such thing!

Anonymous said...

I feel that pre-school graduations are silly- and I have attended a few. The kids are adorable, for sure, but some parents are truly hysterical. I have seen parents present their five year olds with a dozen roses. The problem with celebrating every dinky little thing is pretty soon you have all your "celebrating" used up. If you're going to have a big show for pre-school graduation then what the heck are you supposed to do for middle school or high school? Hire jets to do a fly over?

I say keep the bar low- minimize expectations of this kind of thing. The kids are not going to suffer and it will save the parents the grief of worrying whether or not they caught every little moment on video.

Going out for a Frosty is perfect!

lyzzydee said...

Thank goodness we don't have them......................Yet!!!!

hooray4hollywood said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the frivolity of pre-school graduation. I'm a stepmom who will accompany my husband to his son's pre-k graduation, and then, we have to attend an obligatory after-party at one of his "classmates'" homes. What are we celebrating? That he knows how to play on the playground? That he can listen to a book being read to him? He can take a nap? He can fingerpaint? We thought we'd take him to the party for a while and then he wanted to go to his grandma's, but his bio-mom flipped and said he must stay at the party for as long as possible, as he'll never see most of these kids again. (Like he'll even remember it or care about it down the road!) You're right--this is much more for the parents.