Friday, May 15, 2015

Longing for the End of the School Year

The approach of the end of the school year always brings a cavalcade of activity. Not just at school. It seems like every organization that our kids are involved with — church, performing arts, Scouting, etc  — gets into the act. (I didn't add sports because we currently have no children involved in athletics programs.) It's as if all organizations have to get their events done before the end of the school year ... at the very same time that some (as in "my") kids are scrambling to finish essential school work.

On that note, it wasn't certain until 3 pm yesterday that one of our children would graduate high school next week. We're still holding our breath on whether another will have to do summer school. Yeah, these kids like to cut it close. It doesn't help much when a teacher is inflexible in dealing with a child's disabilities.

Last Saturday there was a piano performance for one child. On Monday night was the high school's choir concert. Tuesday night heralded a child's play performance. The kids had worked hard for months. But sketchy audio coupled with the varied skill set of the large cast (ages 3-14) made it feel like 10 minutes of enjoyment crammed into 2½ hours. A script editor might have been useful in reducing the endurance contest to 90 minutes.

There was Mutual and Scouts on Wednesday night, and a piano recital for two of our children last night. After work and school today, some of us will pile in the SUV for a two-hour drive to camp out in the rain with the Scouts. (Complaining about the weather after praying for moisture = ingratitude. So I'm not complaining.)

While the Sabbath is to be a day of rest, I have learned that this often means a rest from the things you'd like to be doing, not from the things you should be doing. So among the many "shoulds" and "shalls" we have scheduled for Sunday will be seminary graduation. On Monday night we will attend a Baccalaureate gathering at the high school. Tuesday will bring high school graduation (after years of wondering whether this child would actually make it).

Speaking of graduation, I recall some mildly undignified behavior by some of my fellow classmates back in the day. But the audience was generally quite well behaved. Some of today's seniors go out of their way to make lack of dignity into a YouTube-able moment. But their self-centered behavior is mild compared to the crass actions of some of their family members.

I'm not arguing for demonstrations of false piety. But is there no longer a place in this world for dignified behavior? It seems that even the coarsest of folk ought to be able to briefly subordinate their sycophancy out of courtesy for others.

Graduation is not the end, since two of our children will still be in school for a few more days. Some of the kids will be attending youth conference just after the end of the school year. And then we greatly look forward to having a brief respite from a whirlwind of activities.

At least this whirlwind marks the end of the long slog of the school year. Those that would force everyone into year round school apparently fail to comprehend the need for the downtime. It's not just students that need a break. Teachers and parents need it too.

While parents have to deal with their kids during the off season, at least they don't have to grapple with the fallout of streams of useless (i.e. all) homework, stupidizing standard tests, dictatorial teachers, ignorant administrators, and inflexible school systems. Many teachers and administrators do as well as they can in the system in which they find themselves, but there will always be those that seem to thrive on making life miserable for some of the students and their parents.

At any rate, we're feeling the effects of scrambling to be everywhere we need to be and doing everything we need to do. The end of the school year can't come quickly enough.

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