Congrats, Parents and Kids, Another School Year Well Done!

With this year’s school year ending and all the award ceremonies and talk of achievements and accomplishments, let’s talk stock that while some achievements merit that added not at a ceremony with a certificate and a hand shake, most others are harder to pin down and require us parents to point out. In fact, those are the ones that often matter most!

So, as school ends and summer starts to sneak into our lives, take a step back and help your kids see the growth they’ve had this year and the many accomplishments they’ve achieved that they likely have trouble seeing themselves.

Were they having trouble in school a while back and are now having an easier time? That’s an accomplishment!

Were they having trouble making friends or worried about friends and now they have a robust or better social life? That’s an accomplishment!

Did they get into a play, music group or onto a sports team they tried out for? That’s an accomplishment!

Did they discover a new talent they had no clue they had? That is an accomplishment!

Did they try something completely out of the blue that wasn’t on the radar – something you never thought they’d try? That’s an accomplishment!

I could go on for many, many pages with lists like this but you get the jist.

It’s not the grade or the official award that matters, it’s the other stuff we have to point out, too. Now, don’t get me wrong…if you have an uber student and/or a student who has received an academic or artistic award, that’s fantastic. But, we have to remember that those are relatively subjective at times and we want our kids to learn to value the path of learning and the process, and not the grade or the need for that sort of attention.

Every time a school year ends, I’m reminded of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, the places you’ll go!” poem. A friend gave me that book when I graduated from medical school eons ago. That was when I finally “let go” of my need to achieve in any way related to grades. My friends and I used to chant “P=MD” because our medical school went by a Pass/Fail system. They wanted us to learn the art of medicine and not worry about grades the way we did in high school and college.  It was difficult to shake initially but the best lesson of those years, actually!

Here’s that famous Seuss poem for you to digest and read with your kids:

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets.  Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry.  Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored.  there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame!  You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

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Congratulations to all the great students in the world for another year well done. You should be proud of who you’ve become today because you’ve grown so much this year and make everyone around you proud, even if they don’t always say it out loud. Trust me…I know. I see it in their faces when I sit around them and watch them watch you!

And, congratulations to all the amazing parents in the world for guiding these amazing students and helping them grow up in just the right way and at the right speed. After all, we wouldn’t want them to grow up too fast…they still have some childhood left to live!