Kindergarten Graduation: Is a Celebration Really Necessary?

Every time I receive a notice about my daughter’s pending Kindergarten graduation, my first thought, well after wondering how much this was going to run me, is if managing not to eat enough glue to get held back was really that much of an accomplishment. Seriously, When I ask her what type of job she can get with a Kindergarten degree she just gives me this long, blank stare. 

Yes. My daughter did put in hard work. She had classwork, homework, tests and even a few projects for good measure, but her main accomplishment was allowing myself or her grandmother to drag her to a building every morning where she followed the rules well enough to not get kicked out. She did this so well, that I basically know I can probably count on repeating this for the next twelve without any hiccups. 

By no means am I saying that children shouldn’t be celebrated, but why do we celebrate children for doing what every other child is mandated to do?  Graduating kindergarten does not make you accomplished, it only separates you from the children who are delayed, and in comparison their progress this year may have been a much greater feat.

Do not get me wrong. I celebrate seemingly mundane, unworthy events constantly. How can you not when you come from a family who has sang happy birthday and sliced cake for the two puppies, who my sister adopted from my aunts liter? I have bought cake to celebrate the night before each school year, and to celebrate a child who discovered she will be a big sister, neither of which the recipient actually was responsible for accomplishing a thing. 

When I was in first grade, I had just finished the prior two school years with graduations and was disheartened to find out, there would not be another one until I left elementary school.  I thought every year end should have been a celebration. And what I didn’t realize at the time, it was. I didn’t need cake or a party to feel that internal gratitude for a fresh start. I didn’t need a cap and gown to know that the next two months were going to be awesome! 

Little did I know, these uncelebrated summer days would be the ones I look back on most fondly. When I look back to my childhood, I don’t think of the graduations, the birthday parties or the awards ceremonies.  I look at the long days of nothing. I look at those family vacations where we whined non-stop. I look back of the days where my mom left us alone with my father and we ended up doing things we wouldn’t have dreamed of if mom was home, like jumping off the second level of the garage into the 4 foot deep pool.

Graduation did not take away from this one bit for me but I wouldn’t rate it higher. 

So I guess what I am saying, is celebrate your child on their graduation, but don’t stop there, and don’t feel like the bigger the better. The small things stand out so make sure you don’t smother them with excess. Celebrate each day, because you won’t know which ones really counted until they are long gone. 

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