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Thursday, June 09, 2011


aimee stern

I sat with your daughter and their posse of girls at the awards ceremony for awhile and it was wonderful to watch. Maybe I'm just a bit of a softy and yes there are many awards ceremonies, but they serve a purpose I never saw growing up. How many parents have the time or remember to tell their children that they did a great job on a project, or that they are proud of them for getting on honor roll, or just give positive feedback about school in general on a regular basis? We are all so busy. And what about households like mine that are only one working parent - how on earth can we be expected to remember and track all that's going on academically with our kids.

In our parents' generation, at least in my experience, no one was even paying attention as long as we didn't cut school or get in a fight or get suspended. My father and stepmother barely looked at report cards, let alone had any clue what I was doing in school. I've seen other parents today that follow that model exactly.

There's a ton of research that shows if you lose kids academically in middle school, you can lose them for good. So more power to our middle school for making a point of telling its students they've done a great job. I have a photo of all our girls that I'll send you. They were beaming. It may be hot and endless to sit through those ceremonies but praise from their teachers is immeasurable in what it does for their self-esteem. A couple nights a year in a hot gym to me is well worth it.


Aimee, thank you for reminding me of the wonder of it all for the kids. Yes, it was a very important evening for Talia (made even more so because the school actually neglected to send her her invite and I didn't know about it until two hours before the event when she was in hysterics because all of her friends were going and she was not - I had to call and get confirmation that she indeed, was receiving an award.) I did feel the enthusiasm of the kids, and thought that was absolutely the best part.

Like you, I had completely non-involved parents, school-wise, growing up (and my dad was a teacher!) - which I think was as much the culture of the time as parents who didn't care. And so I am always straddling my feeling that we have too much parent involvement today with a sense that I want to be there in a way that my parents were not. And with three kids, I am often caught in the same sandtrap you are - how can I possibly keep up with it all?

The irony is that yesterday, after this was posted, I received a note inviting me to my youngest's awards ceremony next week. Of course I will take time off from work and go - it would be crushing to him if I didn't. My payback for writing this.

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