Raising a Round Child in a Square World – Or Why I Hate Awards Assemblies

The world can be a great place when you are exactly as others think you should be. When you conform to societies views of what is right and perfect. However, when you slip through those cracks and start to become round in a square world, it can be a frustrating experience. As a mom of one son who has a learning disability it is disheartening to see your child struggle and try their very hardest every day only to be given the impression in the end that they are not good enough. Why? Because they cannot learn and memorize easily like the other children. Imagine how you would feel if you did everything within your power and knew it still wold not result in a good grade.

That leads me to why I hate award ceremonies. No, I am not one of “those” moms who thinks every kid needs a trophy and there should be no winners, but I am one of “those” moms who thinks that awards should not be rubbed in the face of a child who cannot earn them.

A few weeks ago the school had an awards ceremony honoring those students who had done a “good” job. Meaning, they have straight A’s, honor roll, or otherwise excelled. I attended both sessions for the elementary students because I had other children getting awards. In fact, my youngest Jase got three. I could not help but feel sorry for those who did not get anything though. Are there some students who don’t study or try? Yep, I have one of those too, my 8 year old whose behavior gets in the way of his grades. Those students I do not feel bad for, but the ones like Jordan with a disability, I do.

Jordan was somehow convinced that he was going to get an award. I am not sure why, but he did. I sat through the entire grade presentation with him and his name was never called. I saw the look on his face. Because he knew he had tried his best and that it still wasn’t good enough. I am not saying children who get good grades should not be rewarded, but is it necessary to make all of those who get nothing sit there and watch as they get passed by? I would have been just as proud of Jase who did get awards if they had been sent home with him and not given out in front of the entire school. I know the school thinks this motivates other children to do better next time, but what about those kids who do not have the mental ability to do better?

I couldn’t stand the look of rejection on my 10 year old’s face so I did what any mom would do. I went home, found a hard worker award and printed it out for him. He does work extremely hard. He likely spends hours more each week on work and homework than other “average” children and I thought that warranted an acknowledgement too.


  1. Ah, you are such a good mommy!Kudos to Jordan for all his hard work this school year… he does deserve acknowledgment for it! Great job, Jordan!!!

  2. You are so right. It's so insensitive of the school. Something I will keep in mind when I get a classroom of my own. I prefer awards like "reached my goal "

  3. i so agree we had one teacher who saw those that struggled and set goals and gave award to them for pushing them self an reaching there goals the ones who have a disbilty are to many times treated like sec rate it makes me sivk

  4. You are so right. I remember sitting through those award assemblies. Once in a while, my kids got something. More often, they did not. How about categories, just like you printed out for your son, where they work hard but maybe they are not A students. Categories where they help other children, a category for a great attitude toward learning, etc. There should be more attempts to include other children who have other abilities.

  5. Oh, Kathleen, this breaks my heart. But going home and printing an award for him was an excellent idea. I'm sure it meant the world to him.

  6. I'm glad no one thinks I am being a whiney mom. I honestly want children who get the honor roll to be rewarded, but every child who tries their best should be considered. Some children can get the honor roll with a bare minimum effort, I know because I was one, but others put in a ton of work for no reward in the end.

  7. The problem isn't so much that he didn't get an award, but that he expected to and didn't…that is heart breaking! Especially since he tried so hard, poor thing πŸ™ As a mom, that would have upset me soo much!

  8. I definitely don't think you're being whiny …. and it breaks my heart to read what happened. How incredibly disappointing for him…. good job finding a way to help him. πŸ™

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