It is hard for me to believe, but this week my daughter is finishing kindergarten. It seems like it was just yesterday we were nervously accompanying her to the first day of school. Now, we are anxiously awaiting her last!
On one hand, this has been a long, grinding year and on the other, it has gone by way too fast. As I reflected on Maddy’s first year of school, I have both laughed and cried. It is amazing to me the changes that have taken place in her over the school year. When she started, in many ways she was still just a baby. There was a lot of crying in the beginning and lots of frustration at not knowing how to do school work or how to fit in. Now, she is a confident young lady. There are still some occasional tears but overall I have seen her confidence soar academically, socially and emotionally.
And so to complete the kindergarten experience, I attended my daughter’s graduation ceremony this past week. To begin the ceremony, each child’s name was read and they received a diploma and a handshake from their teacher and principal. Every child received a warm round of applause from the audience. They did it! Next, children were recognized for their individual accomplishments in reading and math. Again, the children were applauded for the hard work and effort over the past school year. Lastly, there were a series of awards given out for things such as perfect attendance, artistry and creativity, penmanship, citizenship, the ability to tie one’s shoes, a “Principal’s Pick” and excellence in behavior. I am not making these up!
I won’t comment on the appropriateness of some of the later awards but, regardless, the ceremony, and the subsequent awards, started me thinking. There should be an end of the school year awards ceremony for parents! Some of the parent awards would be: successfully navigating the parking lot drop off and pick up line, excellence in nagging (how else would your child have completed their homework each night?), and a “Parent’s Pick,” a special award for the parents of children with perfect attendance from the other parents’ whose children were home sick because you sent your child anyway.
All joking aside, these somewhat silly awards really helped me to see the importance of my involvement in my daughter’s education. Because the reality is, for your child to thrive and succeed in school, they need your support, encouragement and guidance. All of the little things we do each day – feeding your child breakfast before school, getting them to school on time, checking their backpack each day for notes and homework, insuring they receive a good’s night rest – all of these things contribute to your child’s ability to meet the challenges of their day. Never under estimate the impact you have as a parent to prepare your child for success. That being said, I am ready for the summer and I know my daughter is as well. So for now we will take a deep breath, enjoy her accomplishment, and relax until August when it all starts again!