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Graduations Gone Wild

In a thought-provoking Newsweek column, Rabbi Marc Gellman weighs the pros and cons of child graduations.

Pros: Graduations celebrate learning and provide motivation to pursue goals. Most important, they show kids that they have the love and support of the adults in their lives

Cons: Kids have so many graduations these days (nursery school, kindergarten, karate class) that the ceremonies lose their meaning. They can also send the message that students are through with learning. True learning, he says, never ends and has no graduation.

Sharron pondered the seriousness adults place on child graduations in her humorous June 11 post, "March of the 8-year-olds." Although her 3rd grade son's graduation didn't merit a famous speaker, it promised something even better: ice cream!

Gellman jokes about his grandson's graduation from nursery school, saying the 5-year-old graduated "with honors in finger painting" and "summa cum laude in knocking down things made with blocks," but he sides firmly in favor of pomp and circumstance.

We are subjected to an endless and proliferating series of awards shows on television," he writes. "Why not, in the face of a culture that gives awards to sitcoms, stand and cheer for our children who are learning things? Are there any members of our society who are more worthy of being honored?"
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