Friday, May 27, 2016

Award Season

It's award season.

Kids all across the country are walking across the stages in their school cafeteria or auditorium. Students are listening intently for their names to be called for those coveted awards of highest grade in each subject area, citizenship, best athlete and the list goes on and on.   These things should be recognized and celebrated because they are grand accomplishments.

Social media is filled with smiles of these wonderful students and proud parents.  It is good to see kids accomplishing task and being celebrated for their hard work.  I believe in celebrating!

There is a flip side to award season.  The flip side is that pictures cannot capture the kids who are sitting on the stage ever so patiently but never hear their name called for an award.   Students who worked hard and achieved much.

Here's what the award ceremony cannot reveal.

The girls and boys that are all dressed up, with their legs crossed properly and hands sitting ever so gently in their laps have had their own set of accomplishments this year.

Some of them have battled anxiety so severe it has paralyzed them to the point that they were unable to participate in extra curricular activities or engage in the fullness of class decision. Finishing the year in one piece as part of the community and sitting on stage is the accomplishment.

The names of those who are never called have sat at their dining room tables studying for literally hours each night, wrestling with content and assignments not because they are lazy but because comprehending is just that challenging.   The accomplishments is found in the task that was completed on their own and turned in on time.

The students who graciously keep smiling while their peers names are being called, are the students who have admitted that they are struggling and need help sorting out the emotions that are swirling within their being.  The accomplishment is that they have trusted their parents enough to not only ask for help but to admit they needed professional assistance.

Some of the students on that stage have battled eating disorders and the accomplishment is that they are healthy and finally finding balance.

The students sitting behind those whom keep standing to accept their award for all of their hard work are the students who have been bullied during the day and cried themselves to sleep only to get up and do it all over again the next day. The accomplishment is believing in their own worth and wholeness while others beat them down.

Those students who are sitting among your high scoring and high GPA students never hearing their name have stood in the balance of being being shuffled back and forth between parents who have used them as a tennis ball batting them back and forth between homes.  Students who have come to school leaving an important project at a home that they will not return to for some days.  The accomplishment is that they made it through their day helping another student in need.

While we are celebrating the kids who received their awards; let us remember that accomplishments come in a variety of forms.   Many accomplishments cannot be captured in a medal around your neck, a trophy that will sit on the bookshelf or an award that can be framed.

Accomplishments are those moments in life when you had the courage do something that you did not think was possible.