Thursday, December 04, 2008
The first time we ever came across the concept of Awards of Encouragement happened when we were living in Tweed Heads, opposite a family with three terribly young children. "Terribly" being the operative word, or so it seemed to us, as their mother in an effort to make herself understood would often resort to raising her voice to such a level that we could have heard what she was saying from the next suburb, let alone merely across a suburban street, even if her children couldn't.
This happened with such regularity and with such enthusiasm that we were sure that at some point a vein would pop somewhere deep in her brain, and she'd fall down dead.
For the mother of our household, in charge of one new born child, it was a particularly distressing time, she swore that she would never raise her voice like that no matter what the circumstance. Time of course was to prove her wrong and on that first occasion she lost her cool with our own three year old, raising her voice to the extent the children across the road snapped firmly to attention, it must be said that she did suffer a terrible flashback as the veil of guilt descended.
Apart from the slight issue with the mother's volume control, they were a lovely family and we spent a goodly amount of time in their company, so it was only natural that when the eldest received his first certificate of achievement he was duly paraded before us.
"Luke had a really good try at folk dancing".
The world isn't a fair place. In my youth, no matter how really good "the try I had at folk dancing" was, I always ended up being rapped around the legs with a long rule for being out of step. On reflection I suppose there would have been no kudos for me nor satisfaction for my teacher had she sent me home with a certificate that read "Master Midge was only flogged three times today".
I think all of these encouragement awards should be made to comply with one of those regulations about honesty in labelling.
The young ladies in the picture above are in the costume of their Morris Dancing troupe. For those who may not be aware, that particular type of dancing involves jumping up and down on the spot rather a lot, and for lack of a better description, this pair were far from the most robust of their group. When they were all assembled on stage, the troupe had a combined mass something akin to that of Tasmania, and once the jumping up and down commenced, the audience were compelled to flee from the inevitable disaster.
I'm sure that a workplace health and safety enquiry ensued, and I'm guessing the builders of the stage were duly, and I would contend wrongfully censured for it's failure. The real culprit surely was the primary school teacher who sent home all those certificates that read "Joyce had a really good try at folk dancing", rather than a discreet note inviting Joyce to be the light and sound monitor.
A day or two ago, Aaron erroneously presumed that awards "for trying" were invented for the benefit of the Lewis family. I can assure him that really isn't the case. Our own gene pool alone mounts a deserving argument for their being. When his brother's wife, who knows a little about genetics, reflects on all of this, she may well not take any reassurance at all after calculating the probability of producing any superlatively physically co-ordinated progeny.
Unsurprisingly it was the eldest of the lights of our lives who arrived home wearing one of those badges for the first time. It was succinct, and straight to the point.
"Abbie was trying today".
We knew that.
That's what started her mother shouting in the first place.
at 8:00 am