Monday, September 2, 2013

Micro-managing Kindergarten T-shirts

The NYTimes Motherlode has a column here by a mother describing the thought processes of her and her husband who are trying to decide whether or not to let their five-year-old wear his Angry Bird t-shirt to the first day of kindergarten.  They finally decide not to allow it, because it would give the teacher and other parents the wrong idea about the kind of family they were.  I'm not making this up.

I remember when my daughter was in first grade.  She came home one day to announce that it had been school picture day.  I looked in despair at her.  She was wearing her brother’s tie-dyed shirt, that not only was much too large, but also quite shabby.  And a non-matching skirt.

“Luckily,” she continued, with a blissful smile, “I had on my favorite outfit.”

It’s the best school picture we have of her.  Her brilliant, happy smile—because she felt she looked her very best—completely overwhelms the shabby shirt.

Self-confidence comes from having choices respected.  Many decisions a five-year-old can’t be allowed to make.  Respect the choices he can make.  One thing I learned in 37 years of teaching is that an unwise decision a child makes is usually less harmful than a wise decision a parent makes and forces on him.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more. I try to practice that with my child, sometimes catching myself when I react otherwise.