This morning I attended Molly’s award ceremony at school. My sweet girl was recognized for her musical talent and like any other parent present, I was proud of her.
I had other emotions welling up in me though as I watched the many children stream down from their seats in the bleachers, accept their certificates and then seat themselves on a chair in the center of the gym. The sorting mechanism in place, through no malice was intended, grieved me. Achievers took their seats in the center of the gym and the non achievers stayed put in the bleachers.
Lest you think I’m a first class curmudgeon (it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called one,) I celebrate the accomplishments of these children. I hope their moment in the sun spurs them on to greater success.
But what about the rest of the children? What about the children who will never achieve academically? What about those who are hands-on learners and will never learn well in a passive classroom setting?
I thought about the five top “Predictors of Success” and recalled not one of those qualities are academic. They are: Passion, Determination, Talent, Self-discipline and Faith (or positive thinking, if you prefer.)
Yes, for some of these children it IS their passion and determination that caused them to pursue good grades. But let’s face it; some of these kids can earn straight A’s with little effort. And then there are the many, many children who are not motivated by good grades and find school irrelevant to their passions and interests in life.
How can we encourage and validate the children whose strengths don’t lie in academia?
What would happen if awards ceremonies include acknowledgment for: Compassion, Creativity, Ability to work with their hands, Problem solving, Enthusiasm, Optimism, or Determination?
Can you imagine the glorious force this would unleash in the world?