I spent the better part of today at two separate "Awards Assemblies." One for my first grader and one for my third grader. For K-2, these things always have a certain insufferable quality to them--partly because the "awards" mean so little (it’s understood that every kid will "eventually" get one and one teacher doesn’t even bother with the pretense . . . she just gives them out in alphabetical order!) and partly because some parents persist in the belief that they mean everything. Still, one is expected to attend and, because the expectation is coming from those ones whose expectations matter most to me (i.e., my kids), I go.
For the third graders, however, things become a little more serious. In third grade they start to get real "grades" (i.e., A,B,C as opposed to "proficient" and "needs improvement") and the question of honor roll and the various gradations thereof start to hold some real meaning. At least the honors are not doled out to everyone because they are "special" and can fog up a mirror. My daughter, to her surprise (because she did not know that such a thing existed before today) made honor roll. But she did not make the "President’s Honor Roll" because she did not have straight A’s. (It appears that the child has inherited her mother’s math gene. I won’t even tell you what happened when I tried to correct her word problems one evening!)
Still, on the way home from school today, I was explaining to her that I was very proud of what she did accomplish and that straight A’s--though certainly a worthy goal--are not as important to me as she may imagine. I was more proud, I said, that she had been chosen from the whole class as one of handful who consistently demonstrate good behavior at school. She had done much more than fog up a mirror in school this quarter; she had done her best and that’s all a mother can ever ask. "Yeah . . ." piped up my son (the first grader), "Don’t worry about straight A’s. Wobbly A’s are still good!" And when they are bought at the price she paid for them, they certainly are. Good for you kiddo!