Daily Archives: February 27, 2011

Lessons Kids Learn

Actual conversation in the car on the way to the library:

Me: HockeyFan, I finally found a dress to wear to your barmitzvah.
HF: Great, whatever.
Me: Aren’t you interested at all in the colour or the style?
HF: No, not really. Boooooring!(At least he’s honest, right?)

Then a voice from the back pipes up:

Squiggy: HF, watch and learn. Ahem, Ima, did you find something to wear for the barmitzvah?
Me: Yes, I did.
Squiggy (feigning excitement): What colour is it? Do you have shoes to match? What about accessories?
Me: Well….. (I got cut off)
Squiggy: See, HF, I pretended to be interested and it made Ima all happy and stuff. When Ima is happy we all benefit. So we pretend to care about clothes and stuff so that she stays happy and cooks us good food and does our laundry and does Ima stuff for us. Got it?
HF: Yeah, I guess so.
Me: Let’s start again. I found a dress to wear to your barmitzvah.
HF (obviously trying really hard not to roll his eyes): Oh really? (squeal) What colour is it?

ChatterBox, having learned at the feet of the master, pipes up: Do you need shoes to match?

They make me chuckle. I hope one day they will make good husbands. Squiggy did go on to teach HockeyFan that he shouldn’t answer any questions that involve “does this dress make my …….. look big / fat” or “does this look good on me”. He’s learned so much at the tender age of 14….

Brachot Fair – Parental Projects

I just returned from my third grader’s brachot fair at his school. The boys were given a few weeks to work on a poster or a 3-D project – they had to choose one of the brachot (blessings) and design a project accordingly.

My son and his friend chose the bracha of reading a megillah. Working together, they designed a 3-D shul, open at the front, with a table with a “megillah” on it, and an aron kodesh – very appropriately done for 3rd graders. This Ima is so proud.

However. Yes, you knew there was a however coming. I was most unhappy that I could immediately separate the projects into 2 categories. Those that the boys worked on themselves, and those that the parents “helped” them. In some cases, it was even hard to tell if the boy himself had any involvement at all as the design was so intricate.

I am a control freak – there is nothing I would like more than directing my son’s projects and doing it all for him so that it is perfect, BUT I know that in the long run this will harm him and he won’t benefit from it at all so I stand back and bite my tongue. So I get that the parents want the boys’ projects to be the most awesome and the most amazing and for all his friends to go “wow!” – but when we complete projects and homework assignments for our kids, what message are they getting? They need to learn on their own, they have to learn about failure as well as success. They need to understand that putting in hard work and graft pays off and learn what that feeling of accomplishment is.

The school didn’t send home any guidelines saying there should be minimal parental involvement. Some boys are not mature enough to have been able to conceptualize their projects without adult help, and I understand that. There is a huge difference, though, between gentle coaching and doing the entire project!

My son was proud of his project and that’s really what matters to me.

Non Scientific Purim Poll

It’s the time of year when everyone is thinking about Purim Mishloach Manot baskets, some people have a theme, some match their theme to their costume – it can get very detailed.

I have written before about how low key I tend to be – but I was curious. How many Mishloach Manot do you send, how many do your kids, and how much do you reckon that you spend per recipient?