It’s happening again… the infamous end-of-year awards.
As the school year is ending, the ubiquitous part of the graduations and moving up ceremonies is the handing out of special recognitions and awards.
For every child who receives an award, there are countless others that don’t. And twice as many parents in the audience possibly grappling with feelings of frustration, disappointment, and even inadequacy.
Same goes for those posting about college acceptances, scholarship offers, and job offers. There’s nothing wrong with that, and they should be celebrated, but what about those struggling with college rejections or no job prospects?
I hope my words from two years ago provide some encouragement if you happen to find yourself in this situation. You (and your child) are still the same amazing people, with or without the recognition of others. Just know that God sees you. And congrats to all those who are graduating and moving up!
My youngest daughter had her Move Up Ceremony a few weeks ago. As a proud mama, I was excited leading up to and during the entire event.
There was a Student Awards section in the program. About eight different categories of awards were given out during that portion of the ceremony.
During the first award, I held my breath as they started calling names, but once they got to the B’s, I realized she didn’t win that one. Next award up… and still nothing.
When the 3rd award category came up and I heard her name called, I breathed a sigh of relief. Like somehow her award validated me as a mother.
Did her winning that award change who she was, how special she was, or how much I loved her? Absolutely not! The award was someone else’s assessment of her. She was the same girl before her name was called, as she was afterwards.
And someone else’s opinion should not define who she is. Kass defines who she is, and as a parent, I help define and fashion the lens she sees herself through.
When we got home, I immediately wanted to post her achievements on Social Media. But I checked myself – what was my motivation for posting it? To sincerely congratulate her, even though she wasn’t on Social Media and wouldn’t see it?
Or was it to pat myself on the back for being such a “good” mother? Or to see how many likes or comments I could get in praise of “our” accomplishments?
I thought back to how I felt three years earlier when I attended that same ceremony for my oldest daughter, and anxiously waited, award after award, to hear her name called – only to be extremely disappointed at the end.
Did the fact that Kennedi didn’t win any awards make me any less of a mother? Or make her any less worthy than the children that received awards that night? Of course not!
I knew she also was just as smart, as accomplished, and as amazing as I thought she was before that ceremony began.
That night I only posted my congratulations to Kass, along with all the cute pictures of her with her teachers and friends. I didn’t tell any of my family or friends about the awards. I didn’t make a big deal about them in front of her sister either.
I just smiled proudly the next morning when she showed me her homemade scrapbook with all her certificates and pictures that documented her activities and achievements throughout the year.
Both of my daughters are truly amazing! But that night I realized that all the accolades they may (or may not have) received over the years from their activities and athletics sometimes influenced my view of them. Even though I knew that this week’s scripture has always been true about them – they are amazing because they are fearfully and wonderfully made by their Creator! And Psalms 139:14 is truly the only recognition and affirmation that we need!
I am by no means promoting that we discontinue giving out awards, nor am I advocating the infamous Participation Award. But we should keep in mind that awards and recognition, whether it’s sports/activities, academics, work-related, or otherwise, are always based on another infallible human’s biased opinion.
Sometimes deserving people get overlooked. But it should never define us, or our opinion of others, either in a positive or negative manner. We should always work hard and do our best with the talents and abilities that God has given us. Not for recognition or accolades, but to show our thanks and appreciation for the way God made us.
And if someone chooses to recognize our accomplishments, that’s great! But it they don’t, we are still the same amazingly wonderful people that God created us to be. And to Him we are always MVPs – Most Valuable People!!
Have you ever been looked over for an award or recognition that you thought you deserved? How did it make you feel about yourself?
How much value do you put into what other people say or think about you? What does today’s scripture affirm to you about your worth?
Thank you for fearfully and wonderfully creating me! Help to remember that my identify is found in you, and not what others think about me. Help me to live my life in a way that pleases you, so that I can honor you for making me exactly the way that I am!
In Jesus Name, Amen