My daughter is working her way through a summer book of math and reading. She got to the end and found this Summer Brainiac Certificate on the last page. She was ecstatic.
After filling it in and cutting it out she asked, “Is this a real certificate?”
Striking to notice how, at just seven years old, she’s already picked up that it might be someone else’s job to tell her if she’s achieved, to decide whether she gets a trophy, a certificate or a gold star.
“Yes,” I told her, “it’s definitely a real certificate.”
This lesson, that someone besides us is judge and jury, holds on tight to us. We started learning it at a tender age, and year after year, our schools and then our workplaces have taught us that a grade is coming from somewhere, that someone besides us decides what the homework is, how we should direct our efforts, what is going to be on the test. If we do it all right, they give us a piece of paper that confirms, to us and to others, that we hit the mark.
Makes me wonder what blank certificates I should be writing for myself for the skills and achievements I’m working towards. So simple to write them out and leave a blank space for my name.
To be clear, I couldn’t be prouder of my Brainiac daughter, most of all that she choose to do the work and then she filled out her own certificate.