Mark and I attended chapel at our children’s school today because Nevin was receiving a little award that they give out each month to a member of each class who best demonstrates the “character trait of the month.” In April, the character trait was “being a friend to all.” So Nevin was chosen by his teacher, and we needed to be there to see him receive his honor. We are proud of him, and honestly, we can see this quality in him (although not always at home with his siblings!)
It is sort of a mind twister to think about how an award like this really reconciles itself to the quality of being a friend to all. Or, how all the awards like this for various character traits impact the behavior of the children. While I am happy for Nevin, I feel like singling out kids for this sort of behavior may not be the best way to foster good behavior. Because, let’s face it, not all the kids will get the award. Some kids will get chosen more than once for the award over the course of their time at the school. There are so many factors involved regarding how the kids are chosen–subjective judgment on the part of teachers, a teacher seeing all of one kid’s good behavior and none of his bad beahavior while seeing all of his neighbor’s bad behavior and none of his good, and the list could go on and on.
I am not on a some sort of crusade to stop schools from singling out children for good behavior. I am just working through thoughts about how the kids who never get the awards feel. What does striving for some sort of character award and not getting it do to them emotionally?
On a slightly related note, the chapel service at the school today used their “Remembrance of Baptism” liturgy. It was a nice responsive service in which all present had the opportunity to reaffirm their baptismal vows. They do this once a month, and all the children who were baptized in the particular month stand up and the group sings “Happy Birthday God’s Children.” This type of thing is what we really like about our kids’ school. We happened to be there today when Calvin and Evangeline were standing up to be sung to, and we were glad to participate and remember the days that God claimed them. The service was helpful because the way the liturgy was laid out just seemed to make infant baptism and recalling its significance and restating our beliefs in Jesus so sensible. It seemed to me that it would be a good service for our credobaptist friends to witness so they could better understand how we view baptism and that we don’t believe you just get baptized and that’s the end of it.
It was a good way to start the day. I hope you had a good start to your day.