Education: Ur Doin It Wrong

30 Apr
Author: Benjamen Johnson

by Benjamen Johnson

This week my daughter receives her first communion. I’m not really pleased about her being exposed to the Catholic church, but that’s a rant for a different time. What it did get me thinking about is how Catholics celebrate the sacrament. The 2nd graders prepare for a whole year, learning about the event which eventually culminates in a special mass where the children are the center of attention. They dress in fancy clothes…especially the girls who wear elaborate white dresses purchased specifically for the occasion. Their families and friends attend the special mass then, most of the time, everybody has a big party afterwards with cake and sometimes presents.

Does the description above sound like Catholics hold the first communion as an important achievement? It sure does to me. Now, how about birthdays? Do most people place undue importance on an arbitrary day that fall the same time every year? Party, cake, presents, friends…yep. Now contrast this with something we skeptics hold important: education.

A few weeks from now, my daughter will have her reading hall of fame ceremony at school. The children who have read 400 minutes on their own for at least eight months of the school year get to participate. Now that’s over 53 hours of reading over the course of the school year, a pretty big commitment and a huge accomplishment for a 2nd grader. Considering that how much a child reads is an important indicator on how well they’ll do in school, this is important, right? The school does try their best, they have an evening ceremony in the school gym where they receive medals. Most of the children and parents are dressed in their everyday clothes if they even bothered to attend. I’ve never heard of anyone having a party afterward.

My point is with these celebrations we are showing our children what we value. My wife and I  place a high value on our children’s education, but as parents my wife and I aren’t showing this to our daughter. Imagine what you’d be saying to your kid about how important reading is, not to mention other kids and their parents, by having a very special ceremony and a giant party afterward with all their friends, cake, and presents. Isn’t this worth rewarding? Unfortunately I wonder how many people in my family would show up for such an event.

We’re stuck with the first communion and party this week, so we aren’t going to throw a party for my daughter’s reading hall of fame induction, but I am definitely going to do something special with her that week and make sure she knows why.

3 Responses to “Education: Ur Doin It Wrong”

  1. lazyhippiemama April 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    I love this idea! It’s true… these events do tend to get downplayed and that’s not right. The next time my daughter is honored for an academic achievement I will be sure to keep this in mind.

  2. biodork April 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

    Bravo. Excellent observations!

    This made me remember the time an interviewer spoke with one of the young Westboro Baptist children. He asked the child why he was out holding his sign. The kid got a big grin and told the interviewer how much fun it was to have people looking at him and the how all of the WBC adults were shouting and it was all very exciting. You could tell he thought he was at a big party – no idea why he was out there, just that there was a lot of excitement and he got to hold a sign ride the high.

    Bringing it back: You nailed it – kids will get excited about the things we get excited about. I hope the reading celebration goes over well.

  3. Mary Jane Akin May 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    A statement of the obvious which does not go without the saying.

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