We went down to the Summer Festival’s closing ceremony and prizegiving this afternoon.  Certificates were given out for a few categories in the Teddy Bear’s picnic (most loved, scariest, biggest, smallest, etc); first, second, and third places in the sand-castle building competition, and then a large pile of certificates for participants in the “Art Prize Exhibition”.

But when they’d finished giving out the 25 or 30 art certificates, Pearl didn’t have one.  She sat very still, and blinked back tears.  I waited until one of the volunteers was free, and asked whether we had missed hearing Pearl’s name.  Surely, with so many certificates given out, all the children had got one?

The volunteer didn’t know, and directed me to the art show coordinator. “No,” he said, “not all the children get a certificate, I just picked some of them.   I hope she’s not too disappointed.”

“She is shattered,” I told him.

Poor kid.  She was desperately trying to be a good sport and put a brave face on, but tears were running down her face.  Of sixteen exhibitors from her school, fourteen got a certificate.  I don’t know the numbers from the other schools, but it was a small exhibition, and there were a lot of certificates.  It wasn’t even mentioned that there were other artists who didn’t get a certificate.

I could understand it better, and I think she could too, if there had been a smaller number of “prizes” -first, second, third, perhaps a few “highly distinguished” – and she had missed out then.  But to be one of only a few who didn’t get recognition, that really hurts.

The Dad and I have promised her that there will be an Art Prize, we will get her one because we’re so proud of her.  We’re also proud of how she handled her disappointment.  She was upset, but she didn’t let it ruin her afternoon.  She had a hug with me, then went off to play by herself for a little while before coming back to us and cheerfully playing with Fainjin and Babess.

Now we have to think of a prize – any suggestions?

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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5 Responses to “Disappointment”

  1. Jenny Says:

    I think that really shows a lack of empathy for how children operate. I agree that it would have been better if very small number of certificates were handed out 1st, 2nd, etc or everyone gets a certificate of participation – thats the way that anything my kids have been involved has been run. The way they did it was not inclusive and in fact deliberately excluded those not chosen by making them a minority. I would complain in writing to whoever organised the festival. It won’t change anything for Pearl but maybe they will change the procedure so more kids dont go through what she went through – If I send her a certificate of my appreciation of her artwork through the address on the package you sent me do you think she will like it?

  2. Susan @Whymommy Says:

    Since she knows you blog, why not take a pic of her artwork with your cameraphone and post it here, because you are so proud of it you want to show your friends? We’d love to see it!

  3. Susan @Whymommy Says:

    Whoopsie. I should read your posts in order. 🙂

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