Mom Won’t Allow Her Son To Accept A Perfect Attendance Award Because It ‘Demonizes The Weakest’

Mom Won’t Allow Her Son To Accept A Perfect Attendance Award Because It ‘Demonizes The Weakest’

I’m not about participation trophies. If your kid is involved in some sort of competitive team sport and loses, I don’t think the team deserves a trophy. You don’t get awards for losing in real life. When you hand out trophies for everything, it makes winning less special. But I don’t think this particular situation applies to the “participation trophy” culture. This is just weird.

A UK mom has sparked quite a bit of controversy. You see, one of her kids (she has three) had perfect attendance at school and won a “perfect attendance” award. I remember school administrators handing those out in elementary school. I never got one. I never remember feeling upset or angry or jealous of the kids who won them. I was actually in awe of them (I was like 7, give me a break). Back then, perfect attendance was cool. However, Rachel Wright, the mom in question, won’t allow her 10-year-old son JJ to accept his perfect attendance award, because it shames those who are sick and basically awards people who get “lucky” that year.

Her four main reasons are as follows:

1) We don’t reward luck.

2) 100% Attendance Awards demonize the weakest.

3) He had no control over his 100% attendance.

4) We are taking him out of school for 5 days at the end of term.

“In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness,” she wrote in her blog. “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.”

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?

One of Rachel’s kids– her 11-year-old son– has cerebral palsy, so maybe that’s why she’s so sensitive about this. Trust me. I know firsthand how difficult it is to get a disabled kid to school. (For those who are new here, my youngest sister has cerebral palsy, and NO ONE has missed more days of school than her. Trust me. It’s an ongoing joke now.)

“My post was written as a way of communicating our values and thoughts explaining a little of our story and why we think the way we do,” Wright told ABC News. “I was trying to spark a conversation about what 100 percent attendance teaches our children about health, values and those who suffer long term conditions.”

Given my family situation, I understand where Rachel is coming from. But let me just say: As a kid, I NEVER thought that kids who didn’t win the perfect attendance award were sick losers. Kids don’t think that way. I get it’s a silly award, but that’s the point. It’s a silly award that doesn’t really mean anything. Sick or disabled kids aren’t going to take that to heart. If I won the perfect attendance award– which I never did– my little disabled sister would’ve laughed at me and been like, “Dork.” (She’s non-verbal, but if you know her, you know EXACTLY what she’s saying with her facial expressions.) Not all disabled people are sensitive snowflakes who will allow a perfect attendance award to emotionally wound them. If my future kid ever gets a “perfect attendance” award, great. Who cares. I’m not going to stop him/her from getting that pretty slip of paper and an unsharpened Lisa Frank pencil.

All that being said, people are mocking this pretty hard.

That’s what I’m afraid of. JJ’s attendance didn’t cause others to get sick. He shouldn’t feel bad about having perfect attendance.

There’s a balance here. Somewhere.

That is the question. Your thoughts?

h/t Twitchy

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