Sunday, October 11, 2009

How far do you go?

Every so often I get to contemplating this. I'm not sure if it makes me cold and heartless to see things differently than other parents do, but how far some people "try" to go for their kids sometimes sickens me.

For example, last spring we went to a 3 year olds birthday party. It was your normal in the yard, bbq type party, kids running around all over and then the mothers "big deal" arrived. She had gotten a mobile petting zoo to come to the house for all of the kids for the party. In all honesty, I think this is a cool thing to do, really I do... but getting the "bargain" petting zoo seemed to reflect on the party. I felt trashy and dirty sitting there watching the beat to shit van pull up, the pony wasn't even in a trailer, it was just riding around in the back of the van and it just seemed so crappy. Though I understand what the mom was trying to do/get for her daughters 3rd birthday party, that effort kind of went unnoticed when everyone saw the craptastic travelling zoo that had arrived.

Now lets fast forward to the past few days, this year was my first experience with my daughters schools agricultural day. Kids were able to make "crazy creatures" out of fruits, vegetables, pumpkins, gourds and the like. Of course Boug didn't remind me until 7:00 pm Thursday night and it had to be there Friday morning, but we did our best and baked up a butternut squash bread in the shape of a pig. I dropped it off for her Friday morning and we went to the agricultural festival on Saturday. I sat and stared at the other creatures that kids had made out of all sorts of edibles, I was in shock. Looking at most of these, I knew that there was no way that a 5/6/7/8 year old could have made them without a hell of a lot of help from someone. At what cost did those kids get their ribbons? What did they do to contribute to the project? What did they learn from it? That they could get a ribbon as long as mom or dad helped? With Boug's bread, all I really did was help her with the measurements and the actual baking. She did all the dirty work. Her hands were covered in dough, flour on her clothes and I allowed her to tackle the project herself. She got a red ribbon and her project was classified as "good"- out of worthy, good and excellent. Maybe I'm biased, but for a 5 year old, I think her project should have been excellent...

I just don't understand, where's the balance? Spend an arm and a leg on something for a little kid who would appreciate something on a smaller scale? Helping your kid gain ribbons or acknowledgement for something that they shouldn't get a full credit for? What are we teaching these kids? Things need to be put into a perspective here I think... Is it the parents that want that blue ribbon? Is it the parents that want the pat on the back for getting their child a petting zoo??


Sarah October 11, 2009 at 10:20 PM  

Casey, I think you did exactly what you should have. You took an interest in your child's life, you helped her come up with an idea, and you stood by to help as needed while she executed the steps. I think it's so easy to go overboard because everyone wants the best for the kids; sometimes, though, they think wanting the best means being the best. I love that you had her do 99% of the work. She earned that ribbon, no one else.

amorgan8421 October 11, 2009 at 11:07 PM  

Iv said it before and Ill say it again. I think your one of the best mothers I know and the only person you are tied with in my eyes is my mother ( and that is an honorable category to be in). Its better to do what you are doing because then in the long run she will learn to be proud of herself because she did the work and no one else. I am 25 now and still have friends my age that depend on their parents for everything. Sure, they have all very nice things, cars, expensive handbags and designer sunglasses, but their parents helped them get them, what kind of pride is in that? Although Im sure my mother would of liked to step in many times when I was young to help me with a project like Cailin's, but she didnt, she let me do it. And today, I walk around with my expensive handbags and my designer sunglasses that I bought with NO help from her, and I feel proud because I did it myself :) I think your perfect...

Jennifer-Eighty MPH Mom October 12, 2009 at 10:03 AM  

Excellent post Casey...excellent. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen time and time again...especially with science fair projects (just wait!). On some of them, it is SO OBVIOUS that the parents did most of the work. The irony is that they encourage the KIDS to do the project with minimal help. Well that is all fine and well, but those projects are the ones that barely get a nod. It is so frustrating and just a little heart wrenching for your child who has worked so very hard. Some parents would rather spend oodles of money, do most of the project and yes, get the blue ribbon just as much for themselves.

The parties? Been there and done that too.

Oh, and it's typical for kids to not let you know about projects until the night before...just FYI!

Take a deep breath my are doing all the right things.

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