End of the school year duties.
My elder daughter had an awards thingy at her school, the other day. I hadn't really monitored how she was doing, because, frankly, as long as she's able to do the math, reading, history, and science at the level that I expect, she's doing fine. Oh, sure, she'd better pass, but that's not a real issue. I knew that they had some kind of reading achievement chart that they expected her to keep up with, and occasionally my wife and I would sign off on, but it's a pain in the butt, and I pretty well gave up on it some months ago, because it was silly-- nobody was tracking 1/10 of what she was reading. Seriously. I figured I'd give her $20 and another trip to big used book store, instead of whatever baubles and trinkets they award at the school.
So I was kind of impressed when the teacher kept handing her stuff at the podium:
--Free ball pass bowling for a free game every day this summer
--Gift card at a local restaurant,
--"A" Honor Roll All Year
--Six Flags Read To Succeed free ticket
--*Field Day Participation Award ("We're All Stars On Field Day!")
--*Outstanding Effort In Physical Education
--*Certificate of Participation in the TAKS Pep Rally." ("Tackle The TAKS")
You see those asterisks on those last three? Everyone got those. And that's not hyperbole. EVERYone. Not a single kid went without one. Not a single kid had to remain seated. What is the worth of an award that everyone gets?
It turned out that documenting less than 1 in 10 of my daughter's readings was sufficient to more than double the requirement to win a free ticket to Six Flags Over Texas. By being the top reader, she got the gift certificate to the restaurant. Somewhere in there came the bowling pass. Hey, why not?
She didn't win the Perfect Attendance award. I'm utterly fine with that. Missing that meant that she was able to take three-day weekends to visit her grandmother, aunt and uncle, and cousins in Austin. That's representative of family time that's incredibly important, in my estimation. I've nothing against Perfect Attendance; it shows diligence, and I'm all for that. But it can seriously be over-rated.
She didn't win the award for running the most laps on their running day. The girl who did ran 44 laps on a quarter-mile track. She's NINE.
Friend Ashley Emerson related to me about how he went to his daughter's Open House, and asked her about how she felt about the recent achievement test battery. "It makes my head hurt," she said. He pursued the matter, concerned. She elaborated: “Whenever we finish the test before the end of the provided time, we have to put our heads down. I keep finishing early, and my neck always hurts from laying it down on the little short desk tops. I end up getting a headache.”
So I made sure my kid took a book to read. Well, crap. Maybe I distracted her by that.
After the awards thingy, this school, like so many schools do, had a talent show. And I've got to say, I'm very uncomfortable with 4th grade girls singing songs with lyrics that include: "If you want to be with me, baby there's a price to pay..." "I'll make every wish come true."
More uncomfortable, even, than I was while watching boys break-dance to “My God Is An Awesome God.” And that's saying something... especially when their dad breaks out of the audience and joins them up on stage.
I wish I were kidding.