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Pomp and Partying

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Guest blogger Dani: "It is good to be 14 and graduating from eighth grade," reads the opening line of an article in the New York Times that caught my eye Sunday morning.


I had just survived the bacchanalia that followed my son's graduation from preschool. Yes, I am the proud parent of a preschool graduate and much hoopla was made of this.

"This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen," my mother mumbled at the final blowout. She was visiting and wasn't prepared for the two story "bouncy" and catered-with-an-ice-cream-truck affair she found herself attending.

"It's out of a movie," she said, sipping chardonnay from a plastic cup that read, "Congratulations Class of '08."

The question raised by The New York Times and answered by a number of people including Barack Obama is, how much celebration of educational rites of passage is too much? (The article makes no mention of preschool.)

Is it possible that making a huge deal about graduations prior to high school, and hopefully college, gives kids a premature sense of accomplishment?

Instead of "Congratulations, keep going!" is it saying, "Congratulations, you've peaked!"?

I apply the theory of retributive justice where celebratory partying is concerned. Traditionally applied to ethics and law, its key assertion is that the punishment should fit the crime; proportionality is all.

Which is why earlier in the week my son and his friends enjoyed a Slip n' Slide n' Frozen Pizza party in our back yard.

Dani Klein Modisett is the mom of two boys, and the creator/producer of Afterbirth...Stories You Won't Read in Parents Magazine.

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3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 25, 2008, 11:43 AM

What are you going to do to top that when he graduates high school? Have a catered affair at the white house?

Amber June 25, 2008, 11:44 AM

My twins are graduating pre-school this evening. I think it’s pretty crazy too. It’s going to be more like a school party though because they aren’t allowed to have the cap and gowns. Instead we all made t-shirts for our kids with the school name and year and they put their painted hand prints on them. They are all wearing those instead. Parents are bringing food. It’s just like the pot luck dinner we had there a few months ago, only this time our kids are getting presents and “diplomas”. hahaha.

Anonymous June 25, 2008, 12:53 PM

Another celebration of mediocrity. Every one graduates from preschool, and pretty much every grade through elementary school (thanks to social promotion). This is nothing special. Even if the child is retarded, they graduate.

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