Bubble Wrap, originally uploaded by
Okay, time to get back to the blog. There were some sicknesses, a death and a period of… what can I call it? Teenage emo ennui – after which, I was cured, if not for the time spent in cafe world and farmville wasting my precious hours then the spring weather and the 60 dozen emails piling up in my inbox about things like garden work, grid projects, newspaper interviews and vacation plans.
Get up, Ada.
Brush it off and get busy.
The world doesn’t revolve around you.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t.
I know. It shocked me as well.
I was coming here to talk to you about a topic I’ve had written for awhile. Yet, I have woefully blathered on about nonsense for a good 10 or so lines here. GET TO THE POINT, DAME ADA.
At my work, it is a topic we discuss often – the parents who are a little too involved in their children’s lives. The children who are supposed to be independent but who still depend on their parents for advice at every single turn.
Damn us, parents.
But you know what? I don’t’ think it is entirely our fault.
I see the parents everyone is talking about. I know what doc zone is trying to say. I get it. Really. But isn’t this more of a societal problem? If parents are told to step back then why, as a partner of the World’s Most Laid Back Perspective Focused Man in Canada, do I feel constantly pushed into the game? If we are going to spank the parents, should we not be correcting the educators as well?
It’s not just me and my deep-seeded competitiveness.
Franklin is in Aikido. He is 7 years old. He is working toward his yellow belt and so what are the requirements? It’s not merely to pay attention in class or practice his Tantodori at home. Instead it is to come to two classes a week – perhaps even three (the third class is the one for “fun”). It took concerted effort to explain to the Sensai that we felt this was too much. Three classes?!?
There are parents by the sidelines who regularly shout out “helpful tips” to their kids as they are jumping on the trampoline or doing a cartwheel but there are a large majority of us who screw off to the coffee shops and have a cuppa in blissful silence. Dickson brings his headphones and likes to watch kids clumsily leap into the foam pit to the sounds of Rural Alberta Advantage. I read J.M. Coetzee and occasionally look up to see some kid poking their finger in Franklin’s ear or Franklin showing other kids the correct procedure on how to wield a light saber if one is Jedi Master Mace Windu. Yet, the gymnastics leaders? They are measuring up who is the Next Olympic Hopeful. Which one is promising? Which one should they spend their time on? Which are the ones with “natural talent”. Which one gets the award at the end? Dickson and I are left scratching our heads. We only wanted to put Franklin in gymnastics to get him comfortable with his body. Also, he has fun.
Concept of pure genius, that is.
I called last week to inquire about an art summer camp for Franklin. Painting, learning about Pollock, mucking about with clay – you know, kid stuff. Kid stuff? I’m such an idiot. After hammering out the dates and for some odd reason, discussing the pros and cons of having week long versus two week long camps (to really “delve into the theory”) the administrator asks me the following:
“So at what level of artistic talent would you place your son in?”
And I said that – except instead of “Fuck” I said, “Are you crazy?”
My son is 7 years old. He’s perfect because he’s my son but to try and judge a seven year old kid on their artistic “talent” for a SUMMER CAMP is ludicrous. Am I the only one who feels this way?
Ahhh, I’m bitter. I don’t like repeatedly being told that parents need to step back when all our life we are being told to get more involved, to get our kids prepared, to give them the “advantage”. The teachers, the coaches, the administrators of summer camps… the list gets longer and longer the older Franklin gets.
This summer we are skipping the art camp. We are doing the science camps but that’ll be it. The rest of the time will be spent playing with fire, throwing sticks, getting lost in the woods and taking apart broken appliances because you know, you only get to be a kid once and I’m tired of people trying to measure my children’s sucess.
Success means you are a happy in your own skin and we are determined to keep it as simple as that.