Friday, June 8, 2012

Everyone isn't special

With graduation season in full swing, I was surprised and impressed to read this article about a High School commencement speaker that told the truth.

I was not the valedictorian, I was not captain of any team, and at a young age I knew the worthlessness of a participation ribbon.

When I was in elementary school, in Jacksonville, NC, I vividly remember my first field day.  Our class had matching T-shirts and we were ready to win.  There were many different events that I had been entered in, and I didn't win any of them.  That being said, I enjoyed spending the day outside and being part of a team.  After the day was over we were given our team ribbons for the events won, and a participation ribbon for individual events.  As soon as I got home, the participation ribbon made it's way into the trash.  I understood that I had won nothing and the ribbon was a reminder of that.

I am by no means saying that if you do not win, you fail.  What I'm trying to point out is that I was not ruined by not winning.  I continued to participate in field day events in the following years because it was fun and not because I needed a ribbon that celebrates mediocrity.

There have been many things in my life that I did not win, but it never swayed me from trying!  I recognize that I may never invent something that could change the world, but that does not stop me from going to work everyday and doing my job to the fullest.

I take pride everyday in living my life, and I do not expect to be praised with a participation ribbon for being an adult.

I also don't understand the point of a graduation from Kindergarten, Elementary School, or Middle School.  I understand a High School graduation because your education will forever change in college.  You don't have to apply to attend 1st grade?

Okay, rant over.

I know not everyone agrees with me, but that's why I'm the best, most wonderful, amazing person in the world (as clearly demonstrated by all my participation ribbons), therefore I don't need your approval or permission.  But if you get hateful in the comments, I will delete them :o)


Kristina P. said...

I do think we've become a "Reward Everyone" society. Yeah, the whole kindergarten graduation thing is just weird.


If we were not decades apart in and I could have been best buds in school. Your post was my story as well. I was the kid that teachers never noticed...and I liked it that way. I did not do anything to stand out....except sing....and I did that at church. It is funny now when I look at myself and see a public speaker, professional singer....and I still do not like accolades. I actually get embarrassed when people applaud. Great post Mary....and I may use your topic as a spring board for one of my own if that is ok.

Eric said...

A guy at work the other day said he had to leave a few minutes early to go to his kids kindergarten graduation. I replied with "is that what the world has come to, we have to celebrate when a kid DOESN'T fail a grade?"

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I can't stand all those graduations. I didn't mind kindergarten because it's just darn cute, but seriously, there need not be a ceremony from elementary or middle school. It's no wonder that we have the most entitled generation ever right now.

Jessica said...

Being a parent of a recent Kindergarten "graduate" I was a little sad they didn't do a ceremony, but only because it's so cute.

They did hold a merit ceremony and made it clear that their approach is to reward excellence, which doesn't include everyone (only they said it in nicer terms). It made my daughter's gold medal for her writing that much more special- because she was the only one getting it.

Mary said...

Jessica, that's my point! They should be able to recognize achievement without fear of hurting anyone's feelings. Those that do outstanding work should be praised and have their moment to shine!