Last night I attended my fifth grader’s school Christmas concert, and I noticed something I had never seen before. It seemed that every fourth parent was carrying cut flowers to give to their child. One even had a dozen roses. When did this start? And what does it mean?
I understand the need to support our kids, but for standing on risers with one hundred other kids? No one had a solo, so this wasn’t a case of honoring Emma’s special night. When I was in choir we gave flowers to our director. It never occurred to any of us that we should get some too. This gushing disease is spreading. Last spring I attended a gymnastics open house, where parents showered flowers and stuffed animals upon “Tumblebees,” preschoolers who crawled over bars while wearing leotards.
Why so much fuss over a normal performance? The principal last night opened the concert by promising that what we were about to see would “take our breath away.” Really? One hundred kids singing “Little Drummer Boy” is perfectly fine, but anyone who got goose bumps needs to get out more. Why isn’t it enough to have our children sing a standard Christmas song and then thank them for their standard performance? Did any of the children behind her really think they were going to amaze and wow their parents with “Fa-la-la-la-la”? And if that really did take our breath away, what words would be left to describe the truly amazing events of life?
Aren’t we setting our kids up for disappointment? When they hear us gush over normal, won’t they discount our words the next time we say something is extraordinary? Worse, won’t they stop believing there is anything that is truly special?
After the concert I caught a few moments of news before bed, and one of the stories said that American kids rank twenty something in math, science, and reading. Maybe so, but they also have flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.