Most of us never had a chance of winning the 100% attendance award at school.
But there was always at least one kid who took the stage and was congratulated in front of the whole assembly for their miraculous powers.
The idea being that through reward rather than punishment, kids are encouraged to come to class every day and aren’t tempted by absenteeism.
An author and blogger, however, has pointed out why celebrating this could do our kids more damage than good in a Facebook post that’s gone viral.
Rachel Wright explained that her son had been invited to a ‘100% attendance party’ thanks to his exemplary record.
But she went on to explain that she won’t allow him to accept the award – because, she says, “being lucky enough not to get sick” isn’t something to celebrate.
“In this family we will think of as many reasons possible to praise our children,” she wrote on the post.
“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.”
She then goes on to explain that such awards “demonise the weakest”:
“In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness,” she explains.
“In this house you are not encouraged to spread germs when you are not well.
“In this house we look after ourselves and the weakest amongst us.”
She also points out that whether he attended school all year or not is a matter outside of his control anyway:
“He had no control over his attendance,” she says.
“I took him to school and it would have been my decision to keep him off. I should get the reward (or not) for his attendance.”
She also puts an emphasis on the importance of “making memories and having rest” as well as valuing school and work.
Four reasons my son won't accept his 100% Attendance Award.No. 2 son has been awarded an evening at a soft play centre…
“As much as I understand the importance of attendance, there must be a better way of helping those families and children who don’t go to school for non-genuine reasons,” she continues.
“The messages we are sending to our kids when we reward attendance is wrong for so many reasons.”
And for those of us worried that her son will miss out on the party, don’t worry – Wright says that “we’re planning an alternative event for him, friends and those that don’t get 100% attendance”.
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