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To the Child Who Didn't Hear Your Name Called at the End-of-Year Award Ceremony

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Ah, end of term.

Sports days, shows, school trips, report cards and of course the all important end-of-year award ceremony. Proud parents just as excited as their children, relieved teachers glad to show someone really loved their teaching, and halls full of eager little ones hoping and praying their name will be called.

You already know social media and family gatherings will be all about little Jane who had a distinction in math or young Brian who scored the most goals for the school football team this year… but what about all those children sitting through the ceremony year after year longing for their name to be called yet never hearing it.

What about the children who have found the school year exhausting, who have struggled to master 10 new spelling words a month and who have needed support every single term? What about the child who’s had huge difficulty focusing and whose grades have reflected that? What about the child for whom just getting through a single day with the noise, bright lights and confusing smells is a huge achievement? What about the child whose health issues mean getting to school is an achievement in itself?

What about the children like mine?

Each year they become more and more disappointed.

More and more children with special needs are being educated in mainstream schools. It has huge advantages, but at this time of year of competition and recognizing achievement it can be so hard for a child who has tried his best day in and day out and still never hears his name at the award ceremony.

I wish I could speak to every one of those children. I wish could hug every one of their parents. I know the heartache of seeing your child feel left out.

Stay strong, children. Stay strong, parents. In cheering on others and noting their successes, you are developing character, and if that was ever measured you would win without a doubt.

One day the world will realize a person cannot be measured in awards.

Until that day, if your name is never called at that award ceremony, stay strong. Your worth is not measured by certificates. Your importance is not measured by how many people cheer.

You are important. You are worthy, and you are special. You are the best at being you, and that is better than any award any school can offer.

I’m not sure if you can hear it, but I am cheering you on. Keep up the great work!

A version of this story first appeared on Firefly.

Follow this journey on Faithmummy.

Originally published: June 30, 2016
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