May 18, 2012

The more things change, the more they stay the same

I clearly remember the gym/cafeteria/auditorium at my fourth grade elementary school.  On one side of the gym floor was the stage and the other side had a carpeted two-step riser.  The riser space was prized for doing sit-ups, since it was somewhat softer than the varnished wood floor.  It was on that riser that a classmate would hold my feet while I knocked out enough sit ups to qualify for the Presidential Physical Fitness Medal.  It seemed like we worked toward that award for months, doing old fashioned sit ups, push ups and pull ups.  I remember the rope climb, too, but don't think it was part of the test.

I only remember earning the damn thing one year.  I remember how fancy the printed certificate looked.  I think there was a patch, meant to be sewn on a sweat suit or jacket.  I took that beauty home and wondered why my mom wasn't more enamored of my accomplishment.  I don't recall, but imagine that my mom muttered something not appropriate for young ears when I handed her my certificate signed by President Carter.

My two oldest kids had their school awards ceremony this past Monday.  I like the awards at this school because they actually describe the award, call the student by name to the stage and recognize individual achievement.  At our former school district, they had a strict sealed envelope policy.  Every kid got an envelope with standardized test scores, report cards and any awards.  There were strictly forbidden to open the envelope until they had left the campus.  Couldn't let anyone's feelings get hurt if they didn't get an award.  I think that is bullshit.

At the ceremony on Monday, not only did they recognize individual achievement, but the school board president and principal both gave a speech that encouraged those who didn't receive an award to work harder next year.  To make good choices.  To choose homework over Facebook.  They were properly encouraging to the kids, not accusatory or critical. 

The school is also proactive in that they will notify parents of the need to attend the ceremony, if their child will be receiving an award.  If you don't want to sit through an ass numbing ceremony and wonder if your kid is going to get anything, you don't have to.  Brilliant plan, in my book.

So, on Monday Mr H and I sat in the school gymnasium for the ceremony in which Boom was recognized as an honor graduate and was presented with a gold cord to wear with her graduation robe.  Then began the parade of awards for community service.  A pretty blue cord was awarded for those with 200+ hours of service in high school.  Boom qualified, but never bothered to turn in the documentation because it coincided with application for a Presidential Service Award.  Back in the fall when the email went out about turning in service hours, I believe my daughter's exact words were, "I don't want anything that has that idiot's signature on it." 

Can't fault her for that.  It probably would have elicited the same response as did my award from the second worst president in history.  How sad that our president, just by virtue of occupying the Oval, can serve as the Great Discourager.       

3 comments:

Titan Mk6B said...

My mother received a certificate signed by obama after my father died because he had been a WW2 veteran. When she showed it to me I had much the same reaction as your daughter but only I just could not say it.

InsomniacSeeker said...

I like Boom's way of thinking.
-Tina

KurtP said...

I had a girl (woman) working for me who had recently retired from the Coast Guard (back in the 190's).

When all her paperwork came through, her retirement papers were signed by Slick Willy thanking her for serving.

Her reaction was "I can't BELIEVE that mother f*cker had the balls to put his name on this thing! Now I have to hide it."

She was one of my better workers.