Thursday, November 12, 2009

A little teaching perspective

I'm not a teacher by trade, but of course as a parent, I'm charged with teaching my kids in the ins and outs of the world, manners, ethics, morals, and all that wonderful stuff in my attempt to build them into decent little characters. I taught my oldest, now 4 the wonderful lesson of perseverance and trying when at first you don't succeed. This is a story that falls into the "TMI Mom!" category, for when my child is 15 and is trying to convince me that I don't love him, because I said no to some outrageous demand, me telling this story online is going to be his evidence. Nevertheless, it's too freaking funny, so I'm going to share and pay the teenaged devil which will inhabit my child in all too short a time, his due when it's time.

So yesterday I'm driving my little ones home after picking DS1 or The Ninja up from Montessori school. In this type of school at this age, kids are allowed to self direct which activities they want to do. They're encouraged to try, but if the kid resists, then so be it, they'll try another day. Anyhow, my son was telling me about how he tried out this activity, but it was too hard, so he's never going to do it again. I turned on my gentle mom encouraging voice (as opposed to, "You're going to do this NOW" mom voice-reserved for tidy up time) and explained to him the value of perseverance. I wasn't getting through, so using what little brain power I had left after this very bad week, I half remembered, half plaguerized the story of The Little Engine That Could. It worked! I'm driving in insane traffic, weaving a yarn and I had them mesmorized! I poured my heart and soul into remembering and embellishing this story. Even the little guy was listening, in awe that mommy was telling such an amazing story without a book. I threw in the phrases "try, try, again" and "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" I don't even know if they both belong to the original story, but it was driving the point home. At the end of the story, which coincided with the last leg of our journey through our ravine, I saw my point had really sunk in and I sat so high on my laurels.

We went into the house and carried on our afterschool business of snacks, toy playing, dinner prep and my usual mom chat with a friend while we make our families their food. After dinner, I was preparing a bath for the guys, when I noticed them in the downstairs bathroom. My big guy was on the toilet, the little guy playing with the tap. The Ninja was shifting a little, I asked him if he was having a hard time, and he said, "If I just push with all my might, I can do it!" to which I started giggling and the kids looked confused. The Ninja then started sound effects for my benefit, which cracked his little brother up, boys start so young. As I was leaving, to check on the tub, The Ninja then applied my lesson, I overheard him saying "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!" Followed by a "Yippee Oh Ki Yay!" and "Mommy! You were right!" least he understands the value of perseverance. Hopefully in the future, he'll apply it to more than just the bathroom.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rememberence Day

Haven't posted in a bit. Getting ready for DS1's birthday and all that insane mom stuff got in the way of whatever part of the brain wanders to the more creative side of things. I was reading a forum where a poster was criticizing military powers to be for sending our Canadian troops to their deaths time and time again. Not the government, but the actual generals and colonels, people on the ground in Afghanistan. Given that he, like most Canadians knows little about how our military works, I wonder what sort of insight he had that I didn't.

I think as Canadians we are lucky to have one of the finest military in the world. We need better equipment and god knows way more support for our soldiers, but day after day, they put their lives on the line knowingly to protect people millions of miles away while we sit and play armchair quarterbacks. I don't think any other modern military can stand on a record of honour, bravery, compassion and hard work quite like our own. They have one of the world's crummiest jobs and I think they are making the best of it.

Should we be imposing our ideas of how the way things should be working in Afghanistan on the Afghan population? I don't know. Part of me thinks that real change is only going to come from within. It's happened before, but poor people are so outclassed nowadays by evil forces, armed to the teeth and far better funded. It is wrong to want to help? I'm not trying to keep the rose coloured glasses on and think that this is just about help, but is it okay to stand by and let this be sorted out for itself? We did that in Rwanda, where a Canadian soldier begged for help and by the time it came, nearly a million people were brutally slaughtered.

I don't agree with these conflicts, I mean, who agrees with conflict, but I know that I don't go to bed worrying every night about our military abusing their powers and wantonly wreaking havoc. I worry for everyone involved, but as a Canadian of course feel some kinship with those overseas and hope that they come home safe and sound to their loving families.

My job is to poke the government (and you know I will *g*) to at least get them to throw a bit more support behind them, or get them out. It's one thing to send them off, but lets take care of them too.

I know a lot of people think that people of my generation (I'm 30) don't care or give thought to our military. My grandfather served in WWII for Canada. My dad served in Vietnam (he's American). My friends serve in Afghanistan. I care and I remember. I don't know whether that makes a difference, being that one drop in the bucket thing. I feel I should share that any time I go to the bridge to honour one of our fallen soldiers in my small way, in my part of Toronto, there are Canadians of every shade and background. Some were not born here, some were, young, old, English speaking and not. We're all there. We understand the importance of our military and we respect it, and I know it's not something said often enough, but you guys out there are doing a good job.