We get pretty worked up when our little munchkins achieve something great and get rewarded for it. Their excitement is really the cherry on top! However quite unlikely, this wasn’t the case for Rachel Wright, a UK mother, who challenged the obvious by rejecting her son’s 100% attendance award.
The Irony of Life
Imagine having a son being awarded for perfect health while another son suffers from extreme disabilities. Welcome to Rachel’s ironic life. Her perspective for treating an attendance award as an unethical approach stems from this exact conflicting situation.
Wright, a 40 year old blogger, author and a mother of three, is quite confident of her notion of denying an award that demonizes the weak. Rachel was greatly appalled when she was informed by the school that her 10 year old son has been awarded for turning up in class every day over the last academic year while her elder son is severely disabled since birth with multiple brain injuries. Rachel says that being sick or having an accident cannot be considered as lack of achievement. It is just a mix of genetics and luck which none of her children can control. According to Rachel, children do not fall sick out of choice and thus doling out prizes for perfect health is one of the most ridiculous concepts.
As a mother Rachel did not want to draw a line between the two siblings, making one more able than the other by accepting such a biased reward. She is glad that Jonah completely understands and accepts her viewpoint. Thus even though he will not be joining the celebrations in school, Rachel has planned an outing for him and his other friends (100% attendees or not) for giving in his best in the previous year.
The Facebook Post
In her post, Rachel outlines that the perfect attendance award contradicted their family values that seeks as many reasons as possible to praise and reward their children but being healthy is no tone of them. Furthermore, Wright states that her son went to school every day irrespective of his decision because she decided that he will not be kept away from school. So ideally, she should be rewarded (or not) for his attendance. To top her post off she states that she will be taking Jonah out for a holiday by taking out one week from school because she values rest just as much as school. However the only reason she made such an arrangement is because she can only leave when her elder son is in school due to him requiring a 24 hour care otherwise.
At the end of her Facebook post Rachel wrote that her son Jonah has been called for a celebratory evening at the soft play center to be awarded for perfect attendance. However, she says that as much as Jonah enjoys soft play and loves playing with his friends, he won’t be joining the celebrations.
Why go Public
Rachel says that she intended to make her decision go public only because she did not want other children who couldn’t win the attendance race to demean themselves or consider it as their failure.
Rachel’s post received over 2.5 million views and above a 20,000 likes along with mixed reactions to her views. But she completely respects the diverse comments and feedbacks on her post. Rachel only suggests that schools should seek other alternatives to help families and children who give non-genuine reasons to skip school. However she has left her post open for debate respecting everyone’s viewpoints.