Teaching children adult values is the hardest thing ever. My children’s school is participating in Readathon which encourages children to read and gives to childrens charities at the same time. My daughter has just begun reading independently so she has embraced this challenge with great gusto. My son on the other hand, who is an old hand at reading, has not taken it quite as seriously. Every day my daughter gets home from school and after her homework, she independently gets a books to read. Everyday I ask my son to get a book and he conveniently slinks out of the room and goes and does something else. Rather than stress about it, I decided (for my mental well-being) not to get agitated about it. He’s a voracious reader anyway plus as a family we give to a lot of charities. So, no big deal. No pressure. I was embracing a more laissez-faire parenting style as opposed to tiger mum.
For whatever reason, he came home from school desperate to read as many books as possible. I said
well I’ve been telling you for two weeks to read your books and set a target of how many books you want to read so we can get people to sponsor you but you haven’t paid any attention to me.
He left the room forlorn and came back half an hour later holding a pile of about 10 books. In his wisdom, his solution was to grab all the books from their library that were at the reading level of his five year old sister. 😐 I was not amused. He now, by his thinking, had ten books to record on his sponsorship form. As calmly as I could, I told him it was not happening. He has to pick books at his level otherwise he wasn’t getting involved and it was fine not to be involved. Tears ensued. Why are you crying I asked. I don’t know he said. Yet, more tears.
Every time they finish reading a book, they are to fill out a green leaf which is meant to be attached to a reading tree in the school. It turns out that he’s the only one in his class who has not had a leaf on the tree. Ah ah! The plot thickens. Well unfortunately I said,
if you had started reading two weeks ago, you might have finished at least one book by now. I’m afraid you are going to have to start now and read whatever you can but you will not put those books on the list. More tears! Why are you crying now I asked. I-sniff-don’t-sniff-know-sniff sniff sniff.
I’ve been trying sooooooooooo hard not to be one of those mums who forces their child to participate just so that the readathon form would fill up. There is a prize for whoever raises the most money and if we were going for the prize, I should have let him put all those ten books on the list. In fact I should have read the books and just signed his name next to him. Despite resisting the urge to be tiger mum and cajole him into winning the prize or not shaming the family by returning an empty form, we have ended up here. I should be the one crying!!!!!!!!
Dinner was eaten in tears and lots of pitt stops to the bathroom to get tissues for face wiping. He came into the kitchen to apologise for being upset – very bizarre and probably with an agenda– and I said I wasn’t upset at all. He really didn’t have to do this thing but if he was going to, then he had to do it properly. More tears!!!!!!! I gave up the will to exhale at this point.
A few moments later, I was making a smoothie and he came into the kitchen again, no tears but a very forlorn face. He asked if he could help cut the fruit. I said sure. By the end of cutting, dicing and blending, we had a happy son again who will tomorrow start the process of being diligent and not looking for short cuts as he participates in readathon. 🙂
This parenting thing is hard work!!!!!!!