Excessive bragging in parents is ugly, isn’t it? Managing parental pride so that you don’t become socially obnoxious can be tricky. I try to be self-effacing about my kids, which happens to be fairly easy since they’re pretty regular kids, with pretty regular talents. Both of them can swim without drowning (just) and both of them look acceptably cute when dressed well (which isn’t often). They find school pretty easy but I’ve never had the urge to get them tested by MENSA. They’ve neither too many nor too few friends and they seem to be generally taking life in their strides.
Despite their normal-ness, there have still been many awards in their lives. These days they’re unavoidable. Miss F received a medal at the end of netball season despite the team’s 12-match losing streak. Both have come home with myriad assembly awards for nondescript achievements such as ‘very good comprehension’ and ‘excellent class participation’. And Miss F did get a ballet trophy for turning up to 10 classes in a row.
So both my kids have been feted and awarded, and I have pondered in the past about whether all these awards are actually rendering achievement a little meaningless.
Our new school, however, still takes the end of year awards much more seriously and there’s none of this everyone-gets-a-prize mentality. There are four awards per class and this morning Miss F was the proud recipient of one. Not just any, but the ‘academic achievement’ award. Which I’m proud to brag about. She didn’t know beforehand and the surprise and delight and PRIDE on her face were so beautiful that I got all teary in quite an embarrassing way. It turns out, that some awards ARE a bit special, after all.
At school pickup Mr M&P had a sob because there was no award for him. We had a chat about how awesome it is to be proud of those we love, about the importance of being pleased for others. Miss F helped talk him down off his emotional cliff by pointing out that she’s made it to Year 2 without an award and he’s got a lot of opportunities in his future. I think the award caused them both to learn a bit about the complexities of winning, losing and life in general.
And now Mr M&P is really keen to apply himself and see what he can achieve next year. He’s fairly tenacious, so he might just be able to do it. Besides, he won’t have to push hard to reach his sister’s dizzying heights. Apparently after the presentation ceremony, Miss F trotted up to her teacher to ask what ‘academic’ meant. Which puts it all back into perspective nicely.
End of bragging for me. But what about you, what have your kids achieved this year? I won’t think you’re showing off.
Possibly Miss F’s favourite meals have made her the mental powerhouse that she is today. Perhaps your kids might like them too…