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Call It What You Want…

Note: This post is part of Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs, where all the cool kids are hanging out. (Moms are welcome over there!) Welcome to my visitors from DB; thanks for stopping in!

The younger boy finishes eighth grade today. Yes, I said “finishes”. The powers that be call it “graduating”, but I can’t stand that term when it comes to finishing eighth grade. Call me a curmudgeon (go ahead, do it.), but the pomp and circumstance that is created when kids these days finish middle school is crazy*. I don’t mind giving a huge pat on the back and going out to dinner to celebrate the end of the school year, but parents these days are getting crazy with extravagant gifts. Around here it’s new bicycles, expensive electronics, and other such nonsense**. Why do I feel this way?

Number One. These kids “got through” middle school. Congratulations. It’s their job to do so, isn’t it? A kid’s main job outside of any family chores they might have to do is to be a student.

Number Two. They have four years (not including college, if that turns out to be their path) of school left! You don’t hear about many (any?) eighth grade dropouts, do you? High schoolers drop out like flies in certain areas. And if college is not in the cards for certain high schoolers, that graduation is going to be their only –and most important–one in their life. I feel like making a huge deal out of finishing eighth grade waters down the significance of high school graduation. It’s BIG, you know?

Our line to the kids has always been, “We’re so happy that you have completed middle school: now, impress us and graduate from high school!” (We’re all business.)

Of course, the conversation that Jim and I had with the younger boy last night before he went to bed did make me laugh uncontrollably last night.

He said, “Well, good night! I’m GRADUATING tomorrow!” (He knows how much that is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me)

I said, “FINISHING. You’re FINISHING eighth grade tomorrow. But, good job!!!”

He taunted us by sing-songing “Graduating, graduating, graduating” a little bit, when Jim pulled out our standard line, “Hey, impress us and graduate from high school.”

The boy held out his arms in the best comedic style ever and said, “What, graduating eighth grade isn’t good enough for ya?”

*Exception: I did speak at length about this yesterday with Weaselmomma, and agree with her that if your kid is in one tight-knit school with the same teachers and same classmates from K-8, THAT is a great reason to make a big deal out of finishing/graduating.

**Go ahead, disagree with me if you must. Differing opinions make the world go round.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • WeaselMomma June 5, 2009, 11:55 am

    Curmudgeon! (I just had to do that, even though I don't mean it).

    Good job younger boy, or almost good job. Maybe nice work is more fitting? How about 'congratulations for showing up'? No, that's not quite right either. Hmmmmm.
    I got it!
    Good luck in High School!
    Your mom can't get upset about that one. Enjoy your um, ceremony.

  • Mom24 June 5, 2009, 12:03 pm

    To me, it's right up there with kindergarten graduation, sixth grade graduation, and not letting kids achieve all their capable of because 'someones feelings might be hurt'.

    I agree finishing 8th grade is what's expected, not necessary to party like they've conquered the world. πŸ™‚

    (I guess I'm a curmudgeon too.)

  • Tom June 5, 2009, 1:31 pm

    It reminds me of what Mr Incredible said: "They keep thinking up new ways to celebrate mediocrity."
    It's not like you can go anywhere or do anything with a middle school diploma.

    I'm with you – if my kids graduate from high school, then I'll be impressed.

    Just the same: congrats to your son for the progress!

  • Shelli (wishes she was) Mrs. Burchett;) June 5, 2009, 1:37 pm

    I have a pic of my 5yo in a cap and gown from preschool graduation, but not one of my 18yo who just graduated HS!

    Thank heavens they didn't do a K graduation or I would have had that to deal with too!

    as I say to my kids…

    "Moving on…" lol

  • Andrew's Daddies June 5, 2009, 2:41 pm

    We never graduated until our senior year when I was a kid. It's now a milestone….

  • Bella Daddy June 5, 2009, 3:01 pm

    "What, graduating eighth grade isn't good enough for ya?"

    OUCH! LOL…I can barely remember "gradutating/finishing" 8th Grade…except that my Mom wasnt too thrilled that she had three months of us at home LOL

  • Jason June 5, 2009, 3:31 pm

    I couldn't agree more. I don't get those funky graduations either.

  • Otter Thomas June 5, 2009, 6:36 pm

    I feel the same way about the graduating 10 different times. It's ridiculous.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse June 5, 2009, 7:19 pm

    Here's our progression:

    K-3
    4-5
    6-8
    9-12

    Next year, I have 3 outta 4 kids "finishing" something. Nevermind, college…ICK!

    Congrats on your son's finish!

  • PJ Mullen June 5, 2009, 7:32 pm

    I got a diploma when I finished eighth grade all those years ago. I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. Like you said, you are only finished with that grade, its not like I was "graduating" to a career at 14. I was going on to finish with my required schooling in hopes that I would some day graduate.

  • ShankRabbit June 5, 2009, 9:45 pm

    I don't even know if I can agree with WM. I did the K-8 bit and all we did was go out for dinner with a nice pat on the back.

    It's not like I was plagued with the decision of going to HS the next year. It was just what you did. You got your school on.

  • Michelle June 6, 2009, 1:29 am

    Amen amen amen amen. I'm SO with you on this one. We have Mister Man's PRESCHOOL graduation on Wednesday. I can't NOT go, but I so don't want to do that… I don't get it. Then again, I don't get making all the huge deals about all the occasions so that you have the high points of your life with your expectations totally out of whack when you're young and then can never be happy or satisfied after that. Stepping off my soap box now….

  • surprised mom June 6, 2009, 2:41 am

    Sorry, but I disagree. Eighth grade graduation is a big deal. My oldest went to the same school from pre-4 through eighth grade. My youngest went to the same school from pre-3 through eighth grade. When they were graduating, yes with cap and gown and mass, they were leaving behind a whole lifetime and way of life for them. It was onto a new adventure, new place, new friends, new way of life. I thought they deserved and they received a big sendoff from eighth grade. Both were multiple award winners, very active in their school and church and did us and themselves proud.
    So, Melisa, while you congratulate your son on FINISHING middle school, I'll congratulate him on graduating. I guess we'll just agree to disagree. You're NOT a curmudgeon!
    Now if you're talking about kindergarten "graduation" I whole heartedly agree with you.

  • Melisa with one S June 6, 2009, 11:54 am

    Thanks for all of your comments, everybody! I have to say that I'm quite surprised at how many people feel the same way as I; Weaselmomma and Surprised Mom, I'm totally fine with you two vehemently disagreeing. I still love ya's. πŸ™‚

  • Jason June 6, 2009, 5:07 pm

    I agree with you. It's feels like a greeting card holiday. I do think that a celebration is in order, but don't take away from the significance and accomplishment of the real deal! -Jason

  • The Devoted Dad June 6, 2009, 5:10 pm

    I agree with you. It's feels like a greeting card holiday. I do think that a celebration is in order, but don't take away from the significance and accomplishment of the real deal! -Jason

  • Huckdoll June 6, 2009, 8:43 pm

    Graduating from 8th grade MUST be an American thing. No hoopla here till I finished 12th. Craziness.

  • Gene June 7, 2009, 1:40 am

    20 or so years ago when I left junior high, they had what they called a "promotion" ceremony. I though it was cool. It wasn't so much a celebration of leaving junior high as it was a looking forward to what the kids were going to do in high school. Most of us were eager to begin high school and found it pretty meaningful.

  • terri June 7, 2009, 12:59 pm

    My sister just moved back home after living in the Chicago area for many years. She said people in her neighborhood there would hold big parties to celebrate 8th grade graduation. That just seemed so weird to me. People don't do that here. The public middle schools hold a ceremony during the school day. The private school that two of my kids "graduated" from holds a graduation mass. But the big celebration in my opinion belongs with the high school graduation.

  • Anonymous June 8, 2009, 12:20 am

    you people don't get it, do you? I just survived a horrible year with a arrogant know-it-all teacher, a old, should-be-retired teacher, and a teacher that yoedles (is that how you spell it?) when she want everybodies attention. And to that you say: good job. now go on to high school where we know that will be SOOOO much better!

    "Good job completing 8th grade. Now impress me and graduate high school."

    You havent heard the last of the younger boy.

  • Melisa with one S June 8, 2009, 2:37 am

    No younger boy, it's "yodels". But I like your spelling much better. πŸ™‚ xoxo

  • The Microblogologist June 8, 2009, 4:00 am

    Are you sure he is no longer for sale, that kid cracks me up! My grandfather also felt it was silly having 8th grade graduation (I found it annoying, I am not a fan of any graduation ceremony, especially if I am in it!). Our school had a no cheering until all names have been called rule that many broke, he noted the ones that broke it most were the ones with kids that weren't likely to graduate high school and that was the only thing he felt justified the ceremony was that there were a bunch of kids who would drop out and this was the closest their parents would have to celebrating a graduation with them. Sadly his prediction came true for many of them :/

  • Sue June 9, 2009, 1:07 pm

    Does that mean I can take back the laptop I got Brooke for graduating from 4th gr (elem school)???
    I am kidding here, please, she'll be lucky to get a celebratory ice cream cone! πŸ™‚

  • Mrs4444 June 10, 2009, 3:16 pm

    Nope; I'm with you. It's ridiculous. At our middle school, we call it 8th grade "Promotion," and we don't plan it; it's parents who are all about making a big deal of it. We had no special ceremony to lead me to high school, And We LIked It! (remember that line? cracks me up) Anyway, after bitching about all the pomp, I learned where it started. Our school is rural. Back in the day, 8th grade was as far as farm kids went; it was common to quit school and go to work on the farm, so a celebration was in order. Today, not so much, but the tradition continues. Ug.