Achievement Awards

August 18, 2017


I've lugged this pencil around with me for over a decade and I can't remember why I got it but that's not the point of this story. The point is I earned the pencil in Grade 6 back when Achievement Awards were still a thing in my life. I miss those days when people gave a damn what I did; back when we got awards for things like penmanship, helping others, learning to speak English properly (or was that ESL kids only?). These days it's rare I get any acknowledgement from anyone for anything like typing fast, being polite on the phone, or watering plants so they don't die.

I think my need to give other people positive reinforcement and show my gratitude comes from all the Achievement Awards I got as a kid. I mostly earned awards for being smart, which never really sat well with me because I knew other kids who weren't as bright and scored not so well but they worked SO much harder than I did. Why didn't they give academic rewards for effort? I'd flunk that category for sure. I was only ever proud of the Awards that acknowledged how I looked out for other kids or for overcoming my crippling shyness. These days, you can't shut me up if I have something to say and that's all thanks to my Grade 2 Achievement Award. I was super shy before then - partially because I didn't know English but also I was used to being the only Asian in an all white German class so sitting alone and not understanding what was going on was my norm.

I want to go back to the days when people gave you free stationery for slowly becoming a functioning member of society. Mainly, I just want free stationery. If I got pencils or notepads whenever I didn't overeat, or completed an exercise schedule in full, or got all my chores done; I'd be way more motivated and better at life. I also may become a hoarder considering I still have a pencil that's a couple of decades old. OR I would stop using email, text and Facebook messenger, and send people post-its and letters instead. Australia Post would get a nice little business boost and I'd become really slow at communication. Sometimes, you can't win them all.

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