Thursday, January 8, 2015

Yet another......graduation (a discussion of sentiment and semantics)

I have attended my children's preschool and kindergarten graduations.  This spring I will attend N's 5th grade graduation.  I have always been happy to see them sing or read or enjoy the feeling of having met a milestone--a year or two of work and learning.

But I have to balk at today's "graduation:"  N and her fellow 5th grade peers "graduated" from a drug & alcohol education class that lasted 10 weeks and was taught by local police.

Now this is not a criticism of N's school or teachers.  I love them.  Nor is it a criticism of drug & alcohol education programs.  Those are worthwhile.  Nor it is a criticism of police or local government, who sponsor the program.

It is a criticism of holding a graduation for a 10-week-long once-a-week class to which parents were invited and at which students received certificates and small trophies.

It was absurd.

I went to the "graduation" because parents were invited, and I would feel like a complete cad if I hadn't.  But I went grudgingly.  I didn't take my camera.  I didn't buy N a new outfit.  I didn't change out of my jeans.  I didn't buy her flowers (I did see one child who was given flowers).  I complained to at least 2 other parents about how goofy it was to be at this thing.

It wasn't a milestone, nor was it monumental.  I don't think 10 weeks' worth of anything is worth celebrating, especially not with a "graduation."

If they had called it a "completion ceremony," maybe my hackles wouldn't be up.  Maybe my issue is not with the thing as much as with what we call the thing?   There just can't be, nor should there be, so many dang graduations from things.

Of course, I'm peevish about graduations, in general.  I wore my "Liberal Arts Graduate:  Will Think For Food" t-shirt with jeans when I got my bachelor's degree because I was all grungy and angst-ridden about life in general.  I didn't even go through commencement ceremonies for my master's degree because I didn't care about the pomp and circumstance.  I had worked hard and it didn't matter if anyone knew it.  I KNEW it.  I had a paper diploma to prove it.  I didn't need to hear my name called and pay some ridiculous fee.

Even N said tonight, "That music they played was pretty weird, right?"
Smells like sentimentality to me.

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