They had the academic awards ceremony at my kids’ school last night. It’s rough, because it’s easy to get caught up in the whole competitive nature of these things. It’s an academic-oriented school, so for many of the kids and parents, last night was their Raison d’être.
Last year, we left the ceremony wondering what was wrong with our kids, since they had only won a few awards, while a some others won anywhere from 7-10. The next day, I looked at Lintilla and said, “What are we doing?” Our kids are well-balanced, very good students, and all around good kids. Isn’t that what we wanted when we prayed for children?”
We promised ourselves that this year would be different, and I’m proud to say, it was. We kept things in perspective, and made sure to let the kids know that we are super-proud of their accomplishments this year.
Zaphod won an Accelerated Reader award, which wasn’t a surprise. That boy has a book in his hand at all times. He reads for pleasure, which came in handy during his recent grounding. He led his class in Accelerated Reader points. For those of you who are curious, he prefers science fiction/fantasy, just like his old man did.
Trillian won an award for excellence in science, and another one for social studies. She is very, very strong in these two subjects – I don’t think she got below an A on either one this year.
Now, she was upset because they don’t start honor roll until 5th grade, and she would have made it this year. Zaphod was upset because he didn’t have perfect attendance for the second straight year. We reminded him that his mother had a major medical diagnosis this year, and that he had perfect attendance for the days Lintilla wasn’t in the hospital.
I want to also add that Zaphod took his Accelerated Math test yesterday, got 100%, then turned around and took another in the same day! I’ll be doggonned if he isn’t going to get an “A” in that class, the one that got him grounded last six weeks, the one we were afraid he’d get another “D” in.
We pushed the heck out of him this six weeks, when it came to math. We asked him every single day, “Did you take a test today? Did you take a test today?”. I’m somewhat surprised that all that pushing ended up having spectacular results. It occurred to me that, had I pushed my kids in this way in all their classes this year, they’d be the ones getting award after award after award.
But this, I will not do. There is so much more involved in raising my kids than just academics. There’s music, and church, and fishing, and the proper way to eat over-medium eggs. There’s laughter, and service, and games of Monopoly, and political discussions (we’ve actually had a few lately). There are scales to play and bases to run. There are cakes to bake and sleepovers to attend.
And soon, very soon, there will be attentions turned to the opposite sex. But I’d rather not think about that.
Our parental motto from the beginning has been; Smart is Easy. Good is Hard. What that motto really says is where we place our emphasis as parents. We have chosen to focus on the latter, and I think we’ve been somewhat successful. The kids are not perfect, but they really are “good” kids. I’m quite proud of them.
We chose an emphasis that probably means they won’t be valdedictorians. I can live with that. All we’ve ever asked of them academically is try their best.
I really am a proud papa today.