I attended the graduation at UC
Santa Cruz a few Sundays ago. All those in attendance were elated that the
graduates had completed their formal studies. It gave me pause to think about
the celebratory process for the end of the school year.
Now completing their scholastic year, our students in fifth, eighth, and
twelfth grades are leaving their schools and have their own accomplishments to
celebrate. This is a good time to look at and celebrate what your child has
accomplished. Also celebrate what you, as parents, accomplished, either in your
childís education or furthering your own.
Children are used to having their birthday celebrated.
As part of our culture, we customarily have a child blow out as many candles as
he has lived years. What about using this familiar scene to extend toward the
entire familyís accomplishments at the completion of the school year?
Let each child determine her or his accomplishments
with one candle per child. This is not the awarding of a degree, but it is
customizing what you and your family have accomplished during the preceding
Parents can also celebrate their contributions toward
the kidsí success in school. They get candles, too! After all, childrenís
education is a family-wide process. Children need to understand that it takes
all members cooperating to make their achievements.
Be sure to include any adult education that the
parents completed. This is a clear message to the children that education is a
Itís a fine time to have everyone listen to each other
and not only decide how to celebrate their accomplishments, but decide how they
want to do it: pizza party, cake and ice cream, trip to the beach, or picnic in
What matters most is that everyone has something to
celebrate and everyone has a say in how it will be celebrated: an event that
shows children how important education is to the family.
One message to get across to students is that a
graduation is frequently referred to as commencement because it is the beginning
of further education, rather than the end of study.