Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Land of THE Longest School Year

 While the rest of the North Western hemisphere is putting up your feet or stretching on your bathing suits, or blankly staring at cartoons on TV--
think of us here- in the land of the longest school year in. the. universe! Seriously. We still have 7 more days of school. Arg.

And speaking of school, I want to share a thought or two on the end of the school year activities- namely award banquets and graduation speeches. I'm all for celebrations- especially if one of my kids is being celebrated. But here's the reality, not all of our children can or will be celebrated.

When my oldest was in elementary, the school contacted us and said to come to a special award ceremony. The award ceremony was for a "Reflections" contest and my daughter had entered a piano composition. I thought, Wow! My daughter is a winner and all the world will verify her amazing abilities with a crinkled certificate or rumpled ribbon- which we would both cherish. So we packed up all 5 kids and attended the very lengthy ceremony. We sat and sat and sat- finally the end came and my daughter received no award or praise or crinkled certificate. I was heart-broken and mad. "How could they pass up my daughter? Don't they recognize her extraordinary intelligence and competence?!"

In hindsight, it was probably my overly ambitious, hopeful, doting-over-my-first-born-daughter syndrome that expected the accolades of all the world and especially her elementary colleagues. duh. And I continue to do the same thing--- years later. Last week, we attended a softball banquet for my second born. She had never played a day of softball in her life until last year when she wanted to follow in the foot-steps of her older sister and joined the high school team. And yet, my heart still fell a bit when Anna didn't receive the "golden glove award" or the nick name "slugger". I'm not blind to the athletic prowess of others. I see how those girls play--really some incredible athletes. I believe my disappointment comes when there is no award for what I see-- what others may miss- my child's potential for greatness. I don't mean greatness in softball or piano composition unless that's what they really want. I see their ever developing skill and strength of learning how to navigate the lessons of life. And I see their successes in areas that go unnoticed and overlooked by academic, athletic or performance institutions.

Just this week, my fourth child, stayed true to a belief, although all of her class mates and favorite teacher supported a position Natalie did not. My son refuses to be brought down by the negative comments that swirl among his peers at lunch time.  And the goodness of our creator has blessed the youngest with sun-shininess. She reminds all of us, that we can not take ourselves too seriously or we will miss the good in life.

So, take heart parents. If your child isn't the sterling scholar or MVP, there are talents and characteristics that can not be measured, yet are essential to this game of life. Albert Einstein has been credited with the passage: “many of the things you can count, do not count. Many of the things you cannot count, really do count.” And for those of you that need a bit of spiritual confirmation of this truth spoken by ol' Al Einstein, the Lord has said: "for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." 1Samuel 16:7

Happy Graduation and Award Ceremony-ing!