Friday, May 22, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T (find out what it means to me!)

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."-- George Eliot
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."-- Abraham Lincoln (also attr. Confucius)
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."-- Mark Twain (1835-1910)
"Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. "-- Bible, Proverbs 17:28

Regardless of where this quote originated, it is TRUE! I am trying to recover from my anger at an incredibly stupid person who crossed my path today!

Both of my girls received awards today at school. They have an assembly for each grade instead of one large one for the whole school. The awards are for character traits that they have learned about throughout the school year. They have weekly awards for the character trait that they are showcasing and then at the end of the semester, they look back over the past 9 weeks and pick one student that has exhibited the trait throughout. They award for each of the traits and then one gets a "golden eagle" award for exhibiting all of the character traits. Arrena has won a few of the weekly awards and twice received one at the assembly. Kimmy has gotten one of the weekly awards and 3 of the awards at assembly and even received the coveted golden eagle once (which pretty much means that she got one award at every semester's assembly--I believe she is teacher's pet!). Today, Arrena received the award for responsibility and Kimmy's was for self-control.

Arrena's assembly started at 2pm, which is the time I get off work. I sent her grandma and her brother to be there for her and I sped there after work in time to see her class's winners breaking from their post-award photo op huddle. Kimmy's ceremony was at 3:35, so we went home and came back.

The last two of these assemblies I have been to, they have instructed the group not to clap after each individual award. I believe they do this to conserve time and also to keep the kids from getting too unruly. They tell them to "marshmallow clap" which involves silently "clapping", but stopping short of a full clap, as though you have a giant marshmallow between your hands. After the golden eagle award for that class, they are allowed to clap regularly for all the award winners collectively. I disagree with this. I think when the kids work hard and show good character and the parents turn out to support them, they ought to be able to clap and cheer and show that they are proud of them. I follow their directions, though. Today there was a mother in attendance who had no intention of taking it lying down.

She loudly clapped (and CHEERED) for each child, making all the children turn around to stare and giggle. She loudly protested that it was stupid and the children should be clapped for. Someone (I didn't see or hear who--maybe a teacher, maybe another parent, maybe her own child that was next to her) must have asked her to stop because I heard her say loudly, "No, I won't be quiet!" She kept on and on, until she must have grown tired of carrying the protest herself, and took her children and left. On her way out the door, she loudly berated all of us parents for NOT clapping for our children. She completely ruined the awards assembly for the children who had worked so hard and for the parents who came to honor their children. I agreed with her point of view, but you don't make a scene! You don't ruin it for everyone. You don't embarrass your own children. You should be an example to the children of GOOD behavior, not BAD behavior! Apparently she missed the irony of the kids receiving awards for self-control and respect, et cetera, while she did not display any of these characteristics! I am amazed that her child even received an award with his mother as an example. Poor children...I cringe when I imagine what kind of life they must have with an obnoxious loudmouth mother like that. I think I have seen her at a field trip and I must say, if I was a teacher, I would hate to entrust her with the looking-after of a group of children--there's no telling what disrespectful, rebellious, bad behavior she would teach to those in her charge!

This happened four hours ago and my blood is STILL boiling! I was itching to turn around and say something to her, but she was obviously one of those people who could not be shamed into behaving herself and it would likely have escalated the situation and caused more of a disturbance. So, I sat there shaking, as I battled my own self-control. I was afraid if she clapped and hooted for my Kimmy, I might lose the battle. Fortunately she stalked out before that happened. If this is the kind of class displayed by the parents at this school, then I am so glad that the girls will not be going to this school again next year!

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