Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Grandparents' Day

It was recently Grandparents Day. My least favorite “Day” on the calendar since…pretty much forever.

Back when I was growing up, it was a day that every school I went to that *WASN’T* a base school embraced. And since I was a military kid, there were more than just a couple of schools. And it was the way the schools embraced it that forced me to hate the day.

Grandparents Day was billed as a fun day. A party, games, and a sort of fair-like atmosphere came with Grandparents Day. That is, unless you couldn’t produce your grandparents.

Being a military brat, my grandparents lived far and occasionally overseas. It wasn’t rational to expect them to fly long distances at great cost for a school activity. And given I was only one of a few dozen grandchildren spread out everywhere (a big, military family is what we are) it may not have even been me who won the lotto had they decided to go with the crazy and get airfare to a school event.

And so, each year on this day, I spent the whole school day in detention.

Oh, they insisted we weren’t being punished and this wasn’t detention…but it was. It was held in the detention room. We were excluded from all the activities and catering. And we had to spend hours quietly sitting in desks staring forward with nothing to do except hate our lives and envy our schoolmates. Until the end of the day, where we were made to clean up the mess that our chums and their elders made. If this wasn’t detention, I don’t know what is.

I’m glad to see that it seems the celebration of Grandparent’s day has fallen out of favor. None of the schools near us seem to celebrate it. And for that, I’m glad. I may find many directions the schools are taking in the name of helping the children (no zeros, punishing teachers for giving student referrals, a flat out ban on discipline, etc.) confounding and plain wrong but this is a good one. Back in the day, they didn’t have everything right. While I do believe in discipline and merit, children should not be punished because they don’t have grandparents who can come to spend a day at school with them.

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