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Mom's Facebook Post Shares Why We Shouldn't Celebrate Perfect Attendance

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One mom’s thoughts on rewarding perfect attendance are going viral after she shared her son would not be accepting a prize he won for not missing any school.

In a post shared to Facebook on Friday, Rachel Wright, an author and blogger from England, said she doesn’t want him to accept the reward because “being lucky enough not to get sick” is not a reason to celebrate.

“In this family we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children. We will celebrate and reward them, but being lucky enough not to get sick is not one of them. He’s lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident or live with a chronic illness,” Wright wrote.

Wright, who has an older son who was born with brain damage and lives with several disabilities, also explained that 100 percent attendance can “demonize the weakest” by shaming someone for ill health. She asked readers to imagine a workplace in which departments with the least number of people who had taken sick days were rewarded in front of everyone else.

“Can you imagine what kind of atmosphere that would create with people who had days off because of bereavement, mental health problem or chronic conditions?” Wright wrote. “What on earth are we teaching our kids about value and worth? What are we teaching them about looking out for each other and looking after the sick or disabled in our community?”

Finally, Wright noted that her son didn’t really have control over his attendance since she is the one who drives him to school every day, and he’ll be taking a few days off at the end of the year for vacation anyway.

The post, which has been shared more than 11,000 times and generated more than 3,000 comments since it was published last week, drew praise from parents of kids with chronic illnesses.

“My daughter has a chronic illness as well as many other health issues and has so many hospital appointments she’ll never get one of the above awards. Now they give the children with full attendance badges to wear too, it allows them extra privileges. She suffers enough with her health and from bullies, without the school pointing a finger of shame at her. I couldn’t have said it better,” one commenter said.

Others questioned Wright’s decision; one commenter wrote, “I personally think it’s a great achievement to get 100 percent attendance. You should celebrate this and let your son have his reward.”

In an interview with Metro, Wright clarified that her son is fine with not receiving his reward, a day at a play center, and that she’s planned an alternative celebration for him and his friends –those with and without perfect attendance.

“I don’t think our decision can be related to not getting an Olympic medal or diminishing a sense of pride. It’s about children being rewarded for what they are in control of, recognizing the duty of parents and in the wider scheme of things acknowledging that as a society we pity people with disabilities and long term conditions rather than value them,” Wright told Metro.

“Sickness is not something to be frowned upon or a result of ‘lack of achievement,’ it is predominantly a mix of luck and genetics, neither of which my kids can control.”

You can read the full post below:

Originally published: July 5, 2017
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