Parents, how would you feel if you find out your child will be receiving the perfect attendance award at school? You’d probably be proud and excited about it, right? Well, not this mother at all. In fact, she refuses to allow her son to accept the said award.
Mother and blogger Rachel Wright recently learned that her 10-year-old son JJ has achieved 100% school attendance. She, however, wrote a lengthy post about why she will not let her son collect the award at all.
According to her, she does not agree with her son being awarded for it because it all boils down to ‘luck’.
“In this family we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children. We will celebrate and reward them, but being lucky enough not to get sick is not one of them. He’s lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident or live with a chronic illness.
“In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness. In this house you are not encouraged to spread germs when you are not well. In this house we look after ourselves and the weakest amongst us.”
In a Metro feature, we learn that Sam, Rachel’s oldest son, “was born with severe brain damage” and she believes JJ, who is healthy, “had no control over his attendance, he was simply taken to school and that was that.”
She continued explaining her side saying:
“Can you imagine a work place that at the end of each week marked out all the people who hadn’t been sick? Where all the departments with the least number of people off were rewarded – in front of everyone else? It happens in schools all the time.
“Can you imagine what kind of atmosphere that would create with people who had days off because of bereavement, mental health problem or chronic conditions?
“What on earth are we teaching our kids about value and worth? What are we teaching them about looking out for each other and looking after the sick or disabled in our community?”
“As much as I understand the importance of attendance, there must be a better way of helping those families and children who don’t go to school for non-genuine reasons.
“The messages we are sending to our kids when we reward attendance is wrong for so many reasons.”
Rachel’s post has since attracted a lot of attention. However, netizens had mixed reactions about the points she raised.
For example, a mother who had a daughter with chronic illness commented:
“My daughter has a chronic illness as well as many other health issues and has so many hospital appointments she’ll never get one of the above awards.
“Now they give the children with full attendance badges to wear too, it allows them extra privileges. She suffers enough with her health and from bullies, without the school pointing a finger of shame at her. I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for speaking out.”
Meanwhile, another netizen disagreed with Rachel and said:
“You appear to make the assumption that schools, while parading the 100%ers (which, over the course of the year, will be a small percentage of children) are shaming and ridiculing the rest. I have never known this to be the case.
“100% attendance for the year is a remarkable achievement and IMHO it is absolutely right to recognize it, like so many other things a child might achieve, pretty much all of which involve an element of luck.”
Rachel later told Metro that she is totally overwhelmed with the amount of response her post has garnered.
The mother, however, emphasized that she was merely sharing her views and not trying to change people’s minds.
“I don’t think our decision can be related to not getting an Olympic medal or diminishing a sense of pride. It’s about children being rewarded for what they are in control of, recognizing the duty of parents and in the wider scheme of things acknowledging that as a society we pity people with disabilities and long term conditions rather than value them.
“I have made a very personal decision public. I understand people criticizing our decision to stop JJ going, I am not attempting to change everyone else’s mind about this but I wanted to highlight the deeper implications for such an award on families like mine.
“Sickness is not something to be frowned upon or a result of ‘lack of achievement’ it is predominantly a mix of luck and genetics, neither of which my kids can control.”
Well, what do you think about this, dear parents? Do you agree or disagree with Rachel’s points? Leave a comment below and let’s talk about it.
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