Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Why It's No Big Deal

As is often the case in our schools this week, at least one of the principals is placating the vocal minority of teary parents with emails claiming that, as the school year ends, she's going to miss “each and every one of the students” as she plans the 8th grade graduation ceremony. She's worked the teenage girls into a fashion frenzy as they plan what they're going to wear to this “big” event, the culmination of their middle school years. The problem? The kids have only spent two years in this principal's school and my son, for one, sees the ceremony as pointless.

“It's honestly, really no big deal, Mom,” Junior said. “The principal is just having the ceremony because some of the parents want it.” He sees the whole thing as just a waste of time that's not even worth pulling Dad from work or little sister from school to attend. He isn't insisting that I go, but said he'd “like it” just the same. Sure, he's transitioning from one school to another, but the bigger milestone, according to him, was his graduation from elementary school. “When I started kindergarten, I was a little kid and when I graduated from Sixth Street Elementary, I was much different. From 6th grade to 8th grade, I don't think I changed much,” he said. 

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This image was provided courtesy of classroomclipart

He's right. Starting 6th grade was definitely an adjustment. He had to get used to having a locker and memorize his lock combination, a huge stressor for most of the 11-year olds. He needed to learn how to get along with 600 kids, most of whom he did not know, instead of the 100 he was used to in elementary school. The building was bigger, there were more teachers, and the workload was more intense than he'd encountered in the past. Our town has a “Communal 6,” meaning that the 6th grade is in one school all by itself. After learning to come together and with the teachers and administrators only having one grade to deal with, the kids leave that building ready for a slightly bigger school – the Middle School which consists of 7th and 8th graders.

Will I be a teary parent at his graduation this week? Maybe I'll shed one tear, but it won't be nearly as bad as his 5th grade graduation when I literally could not stop crying. “Yep, Mom, you embarrassed me at that one,” Junior mused. There's no need to create a “mountain out of a molehill” as my son leaves middle school. I know he's growing up and I'll probably cry this September as he starts high school. I don't need a posturing principal to remind me that time is passing far too quickly. Nor do I need a pointless ceremony. Fleeting thoughts come, usually at night when I watch my son sleeping, reminding me that in a mere four years, this amazing human being that I've watched grow will be moving off to college. And those have me reaching for the Kleenex.

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