When Did 'Graduation' Start Happening Every Year?

by Katie Bartley
Originally Published: 

It is the end of May, which, according to my Facebook newsfeed, is when everyone wants to #pleasestoptime or #stopgrowing.

Y’all know who I am talking about, right? It is the parents who only nine months ago were rejoicing at the thought of not seeing their little germ-infused offspring all day. They concocted parties to consume copious amounts of alcohol to celebrate the kids going back to school and even threw in the occasional #thankgodforschool. But somehow these parents have all turned into sentimental saps.

And who can blame them? The schools are like dogs. They can smell fear. So they have wisely decided to exploit these hyper emotional folks and have fabricated ridiculous graduation celebrations and ceremonies. I have seen pictures of pre-K, kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and even 4th grade graduations. WTF?! Many even include miniature caps and gowns and photo packages so you will never forget the momentous occasion. Because who doesn’t want an overpriced 8 x 10 of little Jimmy at his kinder graduation? If you say no, you clearly have a heart of stone and will probably be asked to make a much larger “end of school” donation to compensate for your lack of emotion.

When I was a kid, you went to school on the last day and that was that. If you could share appropriately, recognize some shapes and spell your name, you passed and moved on to the next grade. There was likely an end-of-school party in your classroom or on the playground with some water balloons and store-bought cookies. There was certainly no budget for such an event, and no parents appeared to be stressed about creating confectionary goodies from scratch in order to appease the gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, taste-free folks. If you were super lucky, you even got a yearbook to capture all the awkward school photos of your friends. And you spent the last hours of your last day signing your name and covering your BFF’s pages with the incredibly profound “have a great summer” message. If you really loved a particular friend, you may have even replaced one or two of the “a’s” with hearts.

So how did we end up here? Is this just a natural progression of the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation? Will we constantly feel the need to outdo and outspend for every future milestone in our kids’ lives? I can’t help but think that all of our current insanity might water down some of these future moments for our children, and we will be forced to send our kids into space to adequately celebrate their high school graduations.

And lest anyone label me an end-of-year scrooge, I promise I am not. I love my kids, I love my kids’ school and the teachers that have loved them all year. Ultimately I am incredibly thankful I get to waste my very limited non-end-of-school-year party planning time critiquing my Facebook feed. Because let’s face it, bemoaning pre-K graduation ceremonies is a luxury. And the mini-gowned little creatures are insanely cute and maybe, just maybe, 8 x 10 worthy after all.

Related post: 25 Things My Son Needs to Know Before Graduating

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