And the award goes to… everybody on Facebook this week, or so it seems.
My News Feed has been flooded with over-the-moon happy, smiling pictures of pre-teens and gap-toothed tiny people, all proud as punch in their school uniforms, clutching their awards and end of term certificates.
All week there has been an influx of parents posting heart-explode moments about their little ones, who are by all accounts growing up way too fast and receiving Honours, Commendations, School Captaincies, Dux, Top of The Class, Best In Show, Best On Ground, Most Likely to Win More Awards and I think it’s cool.
I hardly have any mementos from my school days, no happy snap of when I came third (yes third, not first) in the local talent show at Warriewood Square or when I played a joey in the Christmas pantomime at Warringah Mall. There might be a photo of my Year 12 formal floating about, but whatever was going on with my hair I’d be happy to forget.
It’s one way technology is being used for good this week instead of evil. (Until we realise all the photos of our youth have been used by the Shadow Government for facial recognition in some evil plot to control us in the future. Insert scary laugh.)
Seriously, though, it’s a great way to remember these little wins in your little person’s life.
I thought I would write a letter to the kids who didn’t get an achievement award, or top their class, or get elected School Captain, because they need our encouragement too. Maybe you can read this to them and hopefully see their face light up because we all deserve that moment.
Dear [insert kid's name],
It’s OK that you aren’t the bestest, mostest or smartest kid in your class today. (I’m not even sure if two out of those three words are actually even words!)
It’s OK if you didn’t receive a piece of paper with your name inscribed on it, reminding you that you are good at something or that you’ve been commended for something else. Trust me, it’s going to be OK. You know why? Because, you can handle this.
You just need to believe that you are good, and that belief can come from within you without a certificate or a trophy. Someone will always win and if it wasn’t you today, that is OK. I’m not saying you should give up — please don’t ever do that, even when it’s tough. Today is just someone else’s moment in the sun. But your day, it will come.
You have a whole lot of growing and learning to do and everyone grows and learns at a different rate. Just like there are some kids in your class who are really short right now and in a few months they’ll shoot up and be taller. That’s kind of how our brains work; they learn and grow and develop in many different and unique ways.
So don’t be down if you aren’t getting all the glory today, just prepare yourself for when it does come your way. Be humble when it arrives.
You might not find the space to truly grow and reach your greatest heights until school is out. I know that seems like a lifetime away and a scary world to you but believe me, it’s a world that will welcome you with open arms — full of awards or empty handed — because what truly matters is your character. The hard work pays off; it doesn’t go unnoticed by powers at play that are bigger than the system you are in right now.
One final thought: sometimes the best person isn’t the person that gets the prize and that’s a bit unfair, I know. That sucks a bit. Life will continue to be confusing and unfair. Your job is to have the best attitude about it and spin it into a win.
So guess what? You just learnt a valuable lesson, a lesson you wouldn’t have learned if you were staring at your name on a certificate right now.
So you see, you’ll get yours and the longer you work for it, the more valuable it will be. So dig in and keep working hard. I see you and I think you’re great.
Your friend Maz