Just today I received a status update from a friend on Facebook about a family member’s pre-school graduation. Yes you read that correctly, PRE-SCHOOL!
At first I thought the idea of a pre-school graduation party was a fantastic idea. Why not celebrate your child’s early achievements and teach them to feel good about his success? I’m not a psychiatrist, but I believe the more positive feedback you give your child the more positive he or she will be in life.
But then I got a second status update later in the day about another pre-school graduation. This one had photos from the party, and a picture of the “graduate” – smiling. Hmmm two pre-school graduations in one day. This is the season, right – and who doesn’t like a good party?Everyone like a good party
Then came the third such status update – this time with a photo album attached to the link, and pictures of what I would consider some pretty lavish gifts. I later found out the party cost approximately $1,500! Would the madness never end?
By the time I read about the third party I had some time to think about the idea of throwing a four year old a party for “graduating” pre-school. And the more I thought about it the more ridiculous the idea seemed. In fact, I came up with three reasons not to celebrate pre-school graduations.
I like to hear it go:
1.) Pre-Schoolers Don’t Graduate – They Move On
Pre-school is the one semi-structured schooling institution in which you don’t need to study. In fact, the word “school” shouldn’t even be in the name because you don’t need to spell, write, go to gym, or even color inside the lines.
No one gets held back in pre-school, and as long as you don’t bite the other kids or kill the class gerbil, you have a 100% chance of moving from pre-school to kindergarten. Why celebrate a with a graduation party when there is no graduation in the first place?
2.) Creating The Unsustainable Education Bubble
For years we heard about the housing bubble and how high prices and low mortgage rates led to unsustainable economy, and eventually a housing bubble that broke and threw the country into the worst depression since…well, THE depression.
Like I wrote before, there’s nothing wrong with positivity, but I’m afraid that by celebrating something graduation from pre-school (aka the glue eating years) we’re telling our kids that they deserve recognition and a party for every trivial event in their lives.
It’s like creating an unsustainable education bubble bound to burst by the time the boy enters junior high. And what happens when we stop celebrating those trivial successes, or, god-forbid, we don’t celebrate a meaningful success?
The poor kid will feel like he’s less than worthy of your love. You bought him a Maserati in pre-school, but when he learned how to write the letter Z in cursive all she got was an “atta boy!” I bet the conversation goes a little something like this, when Johnny comes home from school one day in May:
“Okay mom, I passed kindergarten and learned how to share, where’s my fuckin’ party?”
If you don’t want that kid, don’t be that parent.
3.) The Priya Rangaswamy Incident
In reality, I don’t have a third reason why you shouldn’t celebrate a pre-school graduation. I kind of lost steam after the first two reasons, but I did want to tell you a funny story about a girl I knew in elementary school; Priya Rangaswamy.
As you can tell by her name she is not Italian. I was a good speller in elementary school, but Priya was a phenomenal speller. She was always number one in our class for spelling, and she got even better as the years went on.
Priya spent her lunch hours in the library reading the dictionary. That is not a joke. She read the dictionary every day, and memorized as many words as she possibly could. I was always so jealous of her spelling prowess, there wasn’t a word she couldn’t spell. She got every word right from every teacher who asked her to spell anything. In sixth grade, she even went to the national spelling bee in Washington D.C. and met the President.
But I stumped her with the word “Lamborghini.” Apparently that one didn’t show up in the 1985 version of Webster’s. I lost respect for Priya that day. I thought anyone who can’t spell the word Lamborghini doesn’t deserve to have any kind of spelling crown. And doesn’t she know that’s the coolest car on the road?
Off she went to Washington DC for the national finals and she lost in the first round. She didn’t lose on the word Lamborghini, but I’m sure it was on her mind when she made the long drive back to New York without that blue ribbon. That, and the stench of Ronald Regan’s old-man cologne, probably made it the longest drive ever. Did her parents throw her a party when she got back? Hell no, they patted her on the back and said get back to work.
I’m sure at some point Priya thought all those days in the library poring over dictionaries were just a waste of time. She could have been playing with her friends at recess, singing in chorus, or trading slap bracelets for BJ’s in the bathroom (I heard that’s what kids do these days). But all the hard work paid off because today, Priya is one of the top scientists as NASA, and while she probably still can’t spell Lamborghini she’s a fairly important person. I guess she took that “back to work” stuff to heart.
The point is that while making your kid read the dictionary every day during lunch is considered child abuse in 7 states, it’s probably better than brandishing false praise.
So if your spouse, significant other, life partner, or crazy grandparent suggests you throw a pre-school party for your little tot, kindly suggest an alternative way to commemorate the event and be happy you just dodged a $1,500 bullet.
Do you know someone who threw their kid a pre-school graduation party. If so, shout it out in the comments below so we can go toilet paper their house!