PARENTING: Life Lessons

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Many years ago a dear friend shared a true story. 

During high school, Chelsea earned 'A' and 'B' grades. She was a good student. One semester she failed to be so successful. She was distracted with being a teenager. She brought home a report card filled with 'C' and 'D' grades. 

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One day, Chelsea's father told her to go into her closet and pack up her 'A' and 'B' clothes. She obeyed, not quite sure of her father's plan. He packed her clothing in suitcases then ordered her to get into the car. "Where are we going?" asked Chelsea. Her father did not answer. They drove in silence until they arrived at a thrift store. "We are here to buy your 'C' and 'D' clothing. When you earn 'C' and 'D' grades you wear 'C' and 'D' clothes. I'll give you back your 'A' and 'B' clothes when you earn 'A' and 'B' grades.

Chelsea lives in America and attended a school that did not require wearing a uniform. As a teenager, you can imagine her dismay going to school wearing her 'C' and 'D' clothing.

What a consequence!

Needless to say, a semester later Chelsea received her 'A' and 'B' clothing. Lesson learned! 

Well, my daughter is five years old and in Grade One. She has received excellent grades on every report card she has ever received. She has received high praise for her effort and achievement from all of her teachers. That is until last week. Last week, her Grade One teacher sent me an email describing a talkative student who is is not completing her work. She has been kept in during lunch and after school. She failed to attend a library class at one time as well. Why? Talking. 

Oh hell no!

I am a teacher. I spend all my days asking students to stop talking. I was disappointed to learn my 'good child' was talking in class. Channing's grades have remained superior because of her teacher's tenacity and basic care for my child. As her parent, I need to match that tenaciousness!

But how? Pardon my grammar but....'She five!' She has much more schooling to go! I don't want her to be overwhelmed!

Channing, she deserves to be kid!
Now please understand I am not one of those parents who is focused on grades. My concern is the disrespect, not following instructions, the talking.

And so, what did I do? I remembered Chelsea's story. Eric and I decided to let Channing live a 'talking in class type of life'! For the past week there has been less computer time, less television time, less craft time with Mummy and the most drastic was no gymnastics. Here is my thought. Why should I spend money on an extra-curricular activity? This is extra, not a necessity. Talking does not earn extra!

I want Channing to understand her choices determine the quality of her life!
Here's the thing though, is it too early to teach her this life lesson?

When should parents start to teach life lessons?

My children, Channing and Chase in my classroom.
Five and three years old respectively, very inquisitive about this thing we call life!

As a teacher I see the countless students who are rewarded for mediocrity! Students receive bad grades yet they have all of the latest gadgets. Homework incomplete, missing assignments, teacher complaints yet these kids are not concerned with their lives being altered. What is this? I remember on report card day as a child we didn't breathe easy until the envelope was opened. Talk about 'waiting to exhale'! Today report card day is a regular day. These students are not concerned.  

Who can blame them if there are no consequences for mediocrity?

And so, Channing is five years old. I want to begin early. My plan is to teach as much as I can before she becomes a teenager and discovers her long eyelashes and declares 'I am causing her stress'! (Smile Mummy)

But with that said, is five years too early to take away gymnastics and she get the message? Will Channing understand there is a consequence for every action? Will she digest her behavior at school affects her life at home?

Who knows? But I know one thing.....I have to do something because excessive talking in class which results in incomplete work is sooooo unacceptable! 

Until I blog again,


Nicky Saddleton said...

nice...I totally agree with you!! I love the C&D clothes I might try about C&D food or activities.....they would soon pick up. You have to build good habits and expectations now. I am all about the is a reflection on your achievement, if you have the potential, the ability, then the only other element is the that is where the parenting comes in, you set the standard for them!

Eric Hall said...

Many years ago my soon to be wife explained to me that "everyone has their currency". That clicked for me so well that I almost instantly gave up certain life lessons I thought were set in stone; such logic!

Gymnastics is Channing's currency. This morning I reminded her, stay focused and you get to go back to gymnastics. I challenged her to think about what is most important to her: gymnastics or talking?

I have high expectations because I KNOW how much that little girl loves gymnastics!

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