My father was here the past two days to see his grandkids and to *help*.
Yesterday, at the kitchen table he was astounded to see my 4.5 year old son read whatever it was (not a children's book) that Prince C-Nut had in front of him. I mean he was ASTOUNDED.
Now, let me tell you about this morning. I put the Prince in front of one of his workbooks and told him to do 4 pages whilst I shaved and showered. But when I was done, my son was still sitting there, literally mining his nasal passage, only halfway down the first page. I scolded him, strongly advised him to speed up, lest I add to his workload, and then set about vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor.
Still he dawdled. Forty-five minutes into this *session* he wasn't even done 2 of the 4 pages of Kumon's Writing Sentences that I assigned.
The problems we are at the cusp of, are that of *self-motivation* and *concentration*. If I sit next to him, correct his posture, force him to utilize tissues, and keep him focused, he presently has the ability to do those particular four pages seamlessly in 15 minutes or so.
BUT, not only do I not want to be holding his hand constantly, it's a key part of the learning process - the ability to study independently and efficiently. I yearn for the days that I can just email him rough sketches of what he should be working on, and that he goes ahead and competently completes his tasks. After all, pretty soon I'll have just-about-3-year-old Princess C-Nut to educate as well!
So I was getting annoyed at the Prince's performance - and hollered at him more that a couple of times. To put it in perspective, not long ago we were doing 20 pages of different books each day. Admittedly, we've gotten lazy recently and therein lies the problem. If there's a distraction (e.g. *his sister* or *grandpa*) or if we take a few days off from what we refer to as *his work*, our momentum always disappears - and takes a couple of days to come back.
Halfway through my floor cleaning, I seen that my son has still made little progress - outside of probably *the other nostril*. So my hollering goes up a notch....and I tell him that we'll skip that pizza party tonight if he doesn't DO HIS BLEEPIN' WORK.
As the tears bubble from my son's eyes, my father becomes aghast; telling me to lay off; reminding me that "he's only four".
Normally, I don't take lightly the arrogance of anyone who comes into MY HOUSE and tells me how to talk to or raise MY CHILDREN....
But it just so happens that I've got 30+ years of solid experience ignoring my parents - so I effortlessly brushed it off.
Eventually, the work was completed, that pizza party attended, and everyone will live to see another day.
But I got to thinking more philosophically about all the things my father saw fit to YELL AT ME about in my childhood.
I mean, if as a kid I gave my sister a deserved punch (on the arm) my father went ballistic on me.
So what exactly makes an offense worthy of parental yelling?
It's got to be nothing more than the priorities of mom and dad.
And my priorities are well-thought-out. Expecting, and demanding my son to perform within the limits of his abilities is not child abuse.
No, having low expectations for him would be.
Remember, my father was ASTOUNDED at his grandson's reading ability. From where did he think that competency came? From watching cartoons all day? From pre-school?
His wife, my mother, is far worse. She's never once expressed anything but disapproval for how I am raising her grandchildren. I asked her how she thinks the Prince became so articulate, so literate, and so numerate.
Her response, "He's just a really bright kid."
In other words, not because of any time, research, and work put in by me and my wife.
There's a reason God had to codify this one into law: