The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Taking Candy From Babies

A conversation with a coworker this morning has me feeling the need to blog. In reality, it wasn't just the singular conversation that did it. For the previous two weeks, he and I have had several discussions about the making of 'rock candy'.

Yeah, I said 'rock candy'.

The sugary crystals are not today's topic, however. This particular fellow is the father of a fourth grader and a fifth grader. And he's an involved parent. So, when his sons' school Science Fair was announced, he began scrambling for a project for each of them.

Now, I've been there. I've researched projects for my kids to complete in these types of situations. The difference, however, is that he makes no bones about the fact that he's doing the projects for them. Oh sure, they can watch as he runs the appropriate tests, builds the apparatus, constructs and decorates the displays, but at the end of the day, he's done the work...and they get the credit.


It's tough. I know. To let your young children do their own work in these situations. Many times it would have been far easier for me to have done it myself and let my child put her name on it. Done more quickly and with far less aggravation and fighting. Excuse me, let me grab my soapbox momentarily...

I don't do it, because it's wrong.

This particular fellow was regaling me, this morning, with his sons' success and how the competition was pitiful with hand-lettered display boards and poorly constructed projects. These are, in most cases, nine and ten year olds. In some cases, as young as six year olds. And let me add this, though it seems entirely obvious to me, THESE YOUNG CHILDREN ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SUBMITTING THESE PROJECTS AS THEIR OWN WORK. i'd hardly expect it to look professionally done. In fact, it looks a little suspicious when it is. D'Uh!

And now, because you've been patient and let me rant a little, here's The Speech...

You do not do your children any favors when you do their schoolwork for them. Your children's education will, in fact, suffer as a result of your well-intentioned actions. Your children do not learn when you do their work for them. Even if you let them watch as you do it. The goal here is to help them understand and be able to function as independent and productive members of society. Please see how you are hindering them from accomplishing that goal.

Certainly, you can help them. You can toss ideas back and forth. You can guide them as to the reality of a proposition. You can help assemble materials. You can help transport the completed project. The rest should be the child's to manage.

If he can't, he's not ready for the Science Fair. Perhaps, that should be something to ponder. Or, perhaps, you plan to quit your well-paying architectural position and go do his damned work for him when he joins corporate America. You can get a little desk right next to his and when his boss comes in, you can prop him up on your knee and move his mouth.

Okay, that last may have been going a little far. But, really, it just reeks to me of someone who failed at their own elementary school science fair and is trying to relive the moment (with better results) at the expense of their child. And though it's someone else's child and they are certainly well within their rights to raise them however they see fit, it sickens me when he's doing his victory dance around the office.

For the last couple weeks, I've had no less than four conversations with this man about this project. The candy wasn't crystalizing and he wasn't sure what he'd done wrong. Not they. He.

He (solo) had mixed up batch after batch, using varied methods and recipes, and all had failed to produce Science Fair quality results. Luckily, the last attempt, just 24 hours before the Science Fair, was successful.

Woo. Hoo. You're forty years old and your rock candy science fair project beat out all the ten year olds. You are The Man.


Blogger AaA said...

Nerve touched successfully.

This is merely symptomatic, though, of the real issue.

We've made this world much too safe for stupid people, so now we don't mind if our kids are dumb, because they're safe.

Gravity killed too many people, so we put rails on tall places. Traffic killed too many people, so we forced even the stupid ones to wear seatbelts. X kills people too stupid to exercise good judgement, so we legislate that they must do Y, so there is no longer a need for good judgement at all.

WE, as a species, have turned our backs on Natural Selection. And now we're reaping the rewards.

5/02/2007 4:46 PM  

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