Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"I Smell a Rat Named School"

That was a line The Child used in her blog today, complaining about the homework she has to do during break. Kid has a sense of humor.

Yesteday she and I had a meeting over coffee to talk about what she had to do for school. She came up with a schedule for the week, which is important because this is about her figuring out how to manage her time and responsibilities. Right? She did what she said she'd do yesterday with a minimal amount of drama and today was pretty good as well. It may help that while I am not standing over her nagging, I have also made it clear that if she doesn't get her work done in the morning then we don't party in the afternoon.

I wish it were easier to impart life's lessons to my child. I wish it could be done calmly, dispassionately, over a couple of drinks. I wish there were some way to demonstrate clearly, once and for all, that big jobs are only horrible and looming if you sit around worrying about them but that if you just take babysteps and get to it not only does it get done but it also usually takes less time than you thought. I wish I could help The Child understand that homework is like laundry, not fun but necessary. I want to tell her that if you pile up all the laundry until the weekend you will feel overwhelmed and want to drink bleach but if you just do one load a day, from start to finish, it never gets out of hand and oddly, you never run out of underwear.

I wish I could tell her outright that yes, most of the math she is currently doing is completely useless and all she ever really needs to know is how to balance her checkbook, how to tip at least 15 percent and that for the rest, hello, it's called a calculator. I wish I could prove that this really and truly is the only time in her life she'll be expected to study a hundred different things and that the GNP of Israel and the names of the state capitols will probably only matter in her adult life if she wants to be really good at party games. I want her to understand that as she gets older she gets to pick what really interests her and focus on that and that the ABC, 1-2-3, DoReMi of elementary education will be bent to serve her, not make her nuts.

But I can't do that, anymore than I can guarantee her that mixing tequila and anything is a bad, bad idea or share from my alarmingly expansive experience how to tell if a) a guy is not into you or b) that you are getting way too desperate about a guy who isn't into you. The hard, sad truth of it is that there are some things you just have to learn on your own and the wisdom I have to offer cannot be quickly imparted in a tidy, neat package with a big satin bow. So I stand aside, try not to nag and hand out the occasional nugget of helpful advice when necessary. The rest of the time, I pray.


Blogger Grish opined...

It would be much easier if at a certain age you could simply plug your childs brain into your own and transfer the wisdom directly to them in one fell swoop. -:) - Grish

February 22, 2006 3:57 PM  

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