Saturday, March 9, 2013

Walking Home with No Underwear

I have probably grabbed your attention with the title.  Hopefully, you will find the post interesting too.  Today, I took the kids swimming.  This is something I do pretty often to keep their skills up.  It is an undertaking in some ways because we need to pack up and walk the mile there.  Luckily our bags are on wheels.  I don't always have a lot of energy which translates into less time when I do have energy, so I frequently have the kids pack their own bags.  It is hard to get Carmella going sometimes, but once she starts packing she remembers everything.  So at least it is smooth once we get there.  Thomas, on the other hand, often forgets whole outfits having to walking home in the same outfit he wore there despite it being dirty and having had a full shower.  I am big on re-wearing outfits a time or two before washing, but after a bath or shower, I think something that is completely clean is most appropriate.  I often wear the same thing (for all leave-the-house occasions) for a full 48 hours between showers, but then I want a fresh outfit.  Anyway, today, despite being reminded by Carmella and me, Thomas forgot his underwear.  So I had to decide whether to let him wear dirty underwear after a shower or to walk home with no underwear on.  I chose the latter for the above mentioned reasons. 

Then, I started thinking to myself that it is a good thing that he doesn't go to school.  He would suffer in terms of lower grades for forgetting homework or forgetting to have it signed or getting in trouble for not having forms signed.  Of course, it can't just be my son.  I am sure there are loads of kids like him.  There must be lots of kids getting into trouble in school for being forgetful.  This isn't exactly what is happening though.  To my knowledge, parents are very involved in kids' homework and teachers purposely involve them.  The parents open the backpacks.  Perhaps this is the problem.  Kids often don't become accountable or independent because the consequences are so serious (in terms of grades) that they are not left to handle their responsibility independently.  I think it is good for my son that he had to walk home with no underwear.  Next time, he will be more likely to remember and it has no permanent consequences (like a school transcript), only the short term weird feeling of walking home in pants with no underwear under them.

The funny thing is that when he goes to one of his activities, I let him go in the boy's locker room alone and he changes outfits just fine and doesn't forget anything.  He is even fast at it versus my begging him to get dressed at home.  At that same activity, there is a boy close to his age, probably in between his and Carmella's ages, who changes in the girls locker room with his mother.  Aside from this bugging me a little bit since Carmella has to change with him, it is clearly not going to help him be independent.  I am not sure her reason for doing it.  If it is out of fear, it doesn't make sense since these are small locker rooms with the instructors (appropriate gender) moving in and out of them frequently.  I would understand fear in a big public place like a mall or grocery store with many strangers.  In those settings, Thomas still comes in the ladies room with us (provided Dad isn't out with us).  It must be because she feels like she needs to help him change or pack.  In my experience though, my kids handle things in a grown up manner when I give them space.  When I micromanage, they go out of their way to be forgetful and even goofy and out of hand.

Perhaps this is the problem with the education system today.  In the 1980s we were a bit older when we went to school.  I don't remember my parents ever opening my backpack.  Sometimes, they asked if I had homework and sometimes they didn't.  I learned to keep track of myself so I wouldn't get a bad grade or lose recess.  Now kids get a mixed message.  They are expected to work full-time at school as if they are adults, but they are not given the responsibility and corresponding feeling of independence.  It's not that I think parents should never help with a difficult homework, but being involved in it daily, especially at the expectation of the teachers, is counterproductive.  While I am not always successful, I try to teach my kids in a manner opposite to this.  I want them to have real responsibility (packing without me checking their bags), but don't want to turn it into a full-time job.

Anyway, this is what I was thinking about while my son walked home with no underwear on.  Only time will tell if my methods are better, but something to ponder.

1 comment:

  1. True! I took care of my own bookbag. I enjoyed visiting your blog. I hope you have a wonderful week.
    Blessings, Dawn