It’s graduation season and I had the opportunity to attend a graduation last week that was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication… pre-school graduation. The gateway to a successful kindergarten career.
Before I had kids, I was just as skeptical as all of you. Seriously, a pre-school graduation? And this graduation was carried off with all of the seriousness of the commencement exercises of M.I.T., Harvard, or Princeton. Aside from the songs about loving Friday night, how it is not good to be a turkey on Thanksgiving, and wanting to be a Maccabee. Aside from that, it had the full pomp and circumstance, the processional and recessional, the caps and gowns and the receipt of diplomas. Although I didn’t see any “graduates” wearing leis or bikinis under their gowns.
So sure, I thought it was kind of ridiculous.
Until I really thought about it. So what? What is really wrong with a pre-school graduation? Is there a slippery slope? Are they now going to be holding graduation ceremonies from kindergarten, 1st grade, 3rd grade, 11th grade, all the way up the line? If they do, so what? I am 100% in favor of it. And this is why…
Graduations are dividing lines; they are goals to work towards and conclusions of chapters in lives. And once you complete your studies, with limited exceptions, you don’t have those dividing lines anymore. If you are a teacher or a professional athlete, this may not apply to you because your career may actually be pursued during specific dates of the year. But when you are in school, you have a goal– to graduate. To finish the school year and feel the sense of triumph that comes when you walk across that stage and collect that diploma, a simple, maybe even meaningless, piece of paper that means you did it. When was the last time you got that kind of recognition in your job? Or, more importantly, when was the last time you actually had a destination date by which you marked an accomplishment? Other than retirement which we all have penciled into a calendar someplace, right?
This is the thing. The real world is unlike the world our kids live in when they are in school. The rewards don’t come as often. And the lines of demarcation are sometimes non-existent. So why not let them enjoy it? Why not celebrate their accomplishments? And have this celebration start as early as possible. Have it ingrained in their psyche that there are destinations, goals to achieve and rewards to reap when they reach them. The rewards being celebrations in their honor, a reason for people to give them gifts, a reason for people to be happy for them and laud their accomplishments.
Because seriously, once you get out of school, those types of celebrations are few and far between. Why take this away from them? Celebrate them. Give the kids reasons to be happy, to celebrate, to feel a sense of accomplishment. Because once they get out of school and work, there aren’t as many opportunities for those types of celebrations.
This week, find a reason to celebrate your accomplishments. Whether it is landing a new client, getting a good result for a client, or simply feeling good about some work you did, reward yourself in some way. Because it will be a long, long, long time before someone throws you another graduation party…
Have a great week.