We are very proud.
[Blah, blah, blah — skip Rich’s philosophizing,
and go straight to the podcast!]
Never having parented before, and having no memories of Kindergarten myself (I never went, scofflaw that I am), I didn’t realize there was actually liturgy for Kindergarten graduation. Maybe this is something we only do here in the Midwest. Or maybe it happens all over the world and I’ve been clueless for 39 years. Probably the latter.
I think milestones are important to celebrate — even if there’s no real par-tay and spiked beverages involved. I mean, we really don’t do these things well in America and, growing up, my family did even worse. But despite not having enjoyed a bar-mitzvah myself, or First Communion, or even Prom, I sense that making a Big Deal out of seemingly little events can be an important marker for children growing up. After all, aside from getting the keys to Dad’s car, getting a license that says you’re eligible to get legally sauced, or graduating college, there really aren’t many things in American society that really tell a child, “Hey, you’re growing up. Time to start acting like it.”
I used to think High-School graduation served that kind of function, but having worked with college students for a few years as a Chi Alpha campus pastor, I now realize that college kids are really just High School kids with more expensive text books and a lot more license to misbehave. Why? I think one reason is that upon graduating high school, society places no expectations on graduates to actually grow up. That crisis really seems to occur only on the day a boy or girl receives their BA.
But, as usual, I digress
AJ’s graduation ceremony was short, sweet, and to-the-point. The only real delaying element was a performance by the kindergartners in a typically off-key rendition of a few songs I can’t even recall the tunes to any more. I’m not sure I could identify the melody even during the performance, actually. But that’s beside the point. It was a chance for AJ and his peers to do something in front of an assembled audience that he learned in school. He’d never done that before. It was a first.
Unfortunately, AJ didn’t even notice. Wherever I went with my camera, his eyes followed me, much like my grandmother’s eyes followed me in that creepy portrait that used to hang up on the wall of the mobile home I grew up in. You know the kind. You could press yourself flat against the very wall that painting hangs on and, still, you could feel those flat gray eyes boring into your skull. And if you dared look … yep. Still staring.
I went stage-left. There’s AJ giving me a thumb’s up. I go stage right. There’s AJ looking over his shoulder to mug for the camera. I go to the far back wall. AJ’s still making faces for me. It cracked me up. Everybody’s all into the performance and watching the teacher, but AJ could care less. He wants to be in pictures, and he wants his Dad to give him a thumbs up to let him know the picture came out great. For every shot.
Afterward, we went to Cracker Barrel to celebrate (one of AJ’s favorite haunts — because of the checkerboards and toys in the lobby), and I announced I’d interview him again later that day. He got excited. And before bed-time, he was sure to remind me, “Dad, after you put Ellie to bed, how about I stay down here and you can interview me again with your little computer?”
So, for your listening pleasure, I present to you my interview with Alexander James Tatum, Kindergarten graduate extraordinaire. And, as a special one-time only bonus, I’m also throwing in a short little interview with Elisabeth Rose as well. And just in case you missed the first interview, upon AJ’s first day in class, be sure to check it out.
Man, they grow up fast.
Excellent music samples by James Hersch. Check out his site, listen to his excellent music, book him for engagements, and buy his music. Really, he’s that good!
[tags]back-to-school, children, daddyblog, elementary-school, fatherhood, first-day, first-day-in-school, interview, James-Hersch, kids, kindergarten, mp3, podcast, school, secondary-education, last-day, last-day-of-school, AJ, Ellie[/tags]