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Teaching graciousness

shelgarr

Registered Member
I am pissed at a friend. This isn't the first time she and I have gone up against each other about parenting. Despite that, we've been friends for nine years. Anyway....it's about a reward ceremony taking place at the middle school where both our boys are 8th graders. It will be given to those achieving great citizenship marks through the year. My son is getting one, her son is not. That is because he earned a "U" for using his cell phone in class. She is upset because she doesn't like how it will make her son "feel" or others that aren't going to get a reward. So because of that she isn't making her son come to school that day. When asked my opinion, I said that I guess the other kids should have behaved. She had no response.

Isn't this a time she should teach her son that his actions have consequences? Shouldn't she teach him to be happy for others that they are being rewarded? Both of them are acting like big babies! They're being totally selfish. Her and her kids have to always be the ones getting the attention. So frustrating.
 
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Merc

Problematic Shitlord
V.I.P.
I don't think it's necessarily about graciousness.

From what I've seen growing up in this short life of mine, parenting has changed dramatically from many different perspectives. All of a sudden, parenting is something everyone is involved in, not just the immediate family. Or at least, it seems the microscope has gotten bigger. Parents are being forced more and more to be invasive and nearly abusive with their kids in terms of monitoring and in turn it seems to create this "well I'm doing everything right so it must be someone else's fault" type of mentality. At least, with women like the friend you're talking about in my opinion. People are also told quite often these days that other people are ruining their kids. TV, movies, video games, music, their teachers :)rolleyes:) . . . all have taken some blame in the past decade or two. I think it validates the opinions of those who can't fathom that they did not raise their kids the way they'd hoped.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
I can see some of what you are saying with what happens around me. All parents fight our own inadequacies with excuses, and outward validation that it isn't totally our fault. I'm not quite sure how to apply it in this case though.

His use of the cell phone in class was against the rules sure, but a teen-age-push-the-limit action as well. This friend kind of subliminally encourages her kids to do so. It would make her giggle when her daughter would get popped for dress code violations (short shorts!). Nevertheless the infraction didn't earn him an award, so he should be present at school and see his peers that did. She should make sure of it! Since the first lesson to follow the rules didn't work out, the second as valuable lesson is that he be gracious about others receiving it.
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
You can teach manners--you cannot teach feelings. And even then, the only thing a parent or instructor can do is lead a child towards a supposed value rather than shove one down a kid's throat. I'm quite sure this kid is aware that his actions have consequences (and that he's not getting the award) but does he perhaps not really care to begin with?

On one hand, I see the mother's point. It is a hollow reward and somewhat of a charade--even "theater"--to hand them out. On the other, it certainly is a case of stifling her child's own independent learning of life lessons. How does he feel about it? Has anyone asked this kid?

It's rather impossible to mandate how these kids should feel. For the 8th grader not getting the award, it's not his mother's job (even as a parent) to rob him of the experience. She can tell him what manners are, and she can even express her opinions about the awards and their bogus nature, but to have him develop his own opinions effectively I would say he needs to experience it himself. Symmetrically, I don't think it's fair to say that he must exhibit manners or genuinely feel gracious for the winners.
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
Steg, I guess you are saying graciousness is an emotion? Maybe I look at more like a behavior. He doesn't have to like it to see his peers get awards. He just need attend despite his feelings. The mother is having her own emotional response that her baby boy might have hurt feelings. Screw that! They both are being poor losers.

But oddly I did make the point to her that many kids probably think the whole thing is lame (ie "hollow reward"). It's not very hip to be a compliance, obedient, well-behaved teenager. Regardless, those things are important to me, to my husband, we teach it strictly, and voila....a reward! I'm proud of him.
 

Stegosaurus

Registered Member
Steg, I guess you are saying graciousness is an emotion? Maybe I look at more like a behavior.
Shel, yeah I was using the definition of it as a describing quality of one's nature or disposition, but I understand how you mean it by the outward sense of propriety. Just delicately getting to know each other's takes on it is important, so thank you. :) I think we agree that attending is fine, as it's a normal school day, right?

But oddly I did make the point to her that many kids probably think the whole thing is lame (ie "hollow reward"). It's not very hip to be a compliance, obedient, well-behaved teenager. Regardless, those things are important to me, to my husband, we teach it strictly, and voila....a reward! I'm proud of him.
And it's your right to decide parenting for your own kids, within reason. I'm not positive about the lack of "hip" factor with compliance, though. The line between blind rebellion and critical analysis can be a grey one, and I think there are redeeming qualities in instructing students and people to be independent thinkers. Because often the question is, "To what or whom are we being compliant, obedient, and well-behaved, and is it a legitimate authority/rule?"

In short, yeah I don't think it warrants a day off of school. lol
 

shelgarr

Registered Member
Yes, it is a regular day of school. The subliminal validation she gives by letting him skip could potentially lead to more poor citizenship and less accountability. When he's 23 and in a job we'll see a man that will need mom to back him up in a reprimand because he won't see how he was the cause of the problem. It makes for a lazy worker, a weak husband, and a sloppy citizen.

I like your thoughts...."The line between blind rebellion and critical analysis can be a grey one, and I think there are redeeming qualities in instructing students and people to be independent thinkers." Our son told us that he was getting his grade marked down for not participating in social studies discussions within the classroom. It led to a valuable talk between he, my husband, and myself about what "participating" is all about. My husband took the side of "be compliant to get the grade". My take was that participation is a measure of temperament and not for the schools to grade. The world is made up of talkers/listeners, leaders/followers, planners/executors, etc. From my son, he thinks the topics are boring, the teacher uninspiring, and his knowledge having less importance than his presentation (ie tests, and assignments). He choose to risk his grade than to partake in an exercise that didn't aid his learning.
 
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ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
I don't see it necessarily as lack of teaching her kid about being happy for others or not to be a sore "loser" but rather lack of teaching her kid to accept the consequence of his behavior. By boycotting the ceremony it's like saying they didn't believe he should have been punished for using cellphone in class and that he deserved the award like the others. If parent supports this then what will motivate the kid to do differently next time? He'll think he's still on the right here and his mom feels the same way, so there must be nothing wrong with it.
 
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