Welcome to the swamp! Here, lurking in the muck, where creativity spawns, you'll find Mrs Crocodile, aka Colleen Dunkel, a costumer and teacher based in Basel, Switzerland.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Proud parent of an underacheiver

 Here is the late George Carlin's skit on "Proud Parents" bumper stickers:


I loved his definition of school: "Where their child has been sent to be striped of his individuality and turned into an obedient soul-dead conformist member of American consumer culture..."

Maybe this is why, Kazam, my son, seems to have trouble concentrating on his homework.  Other mothers of 9 year-old-boys have told me they have the same problem.  When there is some excellent motivation (sadly referred to as bribery by the law or perks in corporations), like watching old Donald Duck on Youtube or playing with a friend outside: Alla Kazam!  The homework is magically done.  But when the only motivation is to annoy his mother, which is probably more value than you think, here is a typical conversation which spans about two hours:
Picture the scene, my beloved son Kazam is sitting at the kitchen table, with paper, pencil, eraser at the ready.  After fifteen minutes and no writing on the page:
"The table is too rough on my skin,"says Kazam.
"Maybe you should look into becoming a paper pusher when you get older," I say.
"What is that?" 
I walk out of the room.
"Will you do my homework for me?" calls Kazam.
"No, I never went to school in this country, I wouldn't know how it works."
"I'm hungry," he calls after a long pause and no movement
"Then eat."
"There's nothing to eat."
"Try the homework."
"That's yucky.
"I know, it's in German.  Try it with salt."
"Mom."
"You said you were hungry."

I'm secretly happy that my child is not an over-acheiver and I don't have to put a bumper sticker on my car that says "Proud parent of an overacheiving little brat in a Swiss public school."  I mean I'm not even sure of the right German translation.   And if you do have a bumper sticker on your car in Switzerland are you are required by law to write it in three different languages?  Well, Kazam has lots of friends, gets invited to lots of birthday parties and speaks three languages; can I write that on a bumper sticker in Swiss German?
Any advice to speed up the homework process, or how to explain how not to become a paper pusher to a kid would be warmly welcomed...
Yours,
Mrs Crocodile

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2 comments:

  1. Snap! How did you get so witty? George Carlin influence? He's great. But my mind had a hard time keeping up with him; I'm not used to people talking so fast here and using more than 2 words to make a sentence, and you can forget adjectives. Haven't seen those in months.

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  2. I'm working on re-inventing myself and the realization includes actually understanding my mother tongue. Two of my goals are, 1) don't sound like a grown up in the "Peanuts" cartoons, 2) don't sound like Dora speaking "whale". Hard to do in a country which prides itself on writing milk in three languages. Who has time for adjectives? What is an adjective anyway?

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