Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Nobody's Mom is in 4th Grade

I love that the second grade teachers at my children's school bring out the book Nobody's Mother is in Second Grade during the first few weeks of the school year. It really communicates the idea of personal responsibility quite clearly. And it's a handy tool for me to refer back to when my children want to blame me for something they should have remembered.

Like today, when I reminded my fourth grader that it was her job to remember her flute on Tuesdays for band. Even though I brought it to her last week, I explained that doing so was an act of grace. It wouldn't happen again because...nobody's mother is in fourth grade. She nodded and agreed that it was her responsibility. And I smiled to see the flute grasped firmly in one of her hands as we headed off to school.

Then I stopped to chat with another band mom on the playground. Yes, remembering to bring her flute was an issue with her daughter also. We both commented that: isn't it great that we can pull out the whole "nobody's mother..." line, instead of allowing our kids to blame us. Oh yes, we are both very hopeful that our children are being taught well about responsibility and taking care of the things that fall to them. The load on our fourth graders seems to be getting tougher, but we are so proud of them and confident they'll continue to shoulder more and more responsibility. Definitely, things are going well this school year. Yes, they are!

And this musing mom (who isn't in fourth grade) walked blithely back to her home, glad for the strides her young ones are taking. Glad, that is, until she saw the blinking light on the answering machine.

"Mom, I forgot my lunch. Can you bring it over before 11:30?", came the fourth grade voice.

Now I don't know who Nobody is, but since their mom is in second grade, maybe she could take this lunch to school with her to pass along to my daughter... just so long as she doesn't point out the pudding and fruit snacks that seem to somehow have mysteriously disappeared from it.

Sigh... What grade aren't you in?

15 musings:

Llama Momma said...

I am not in the first grade.

And I don't wear glasses. :-)

Beth said...

I am not in Preschool, 1st Grade (but he thinks I am!), or 10th grade. However, it is MY responsibilty to make sure he has just the right size styrofoam ball for a biology project, and that I make sure the homework is in the backpacks before we leave.

Wait, I'M NOT IN ANY GRADE!!! Where can I get a copy of that? :-)

A Musing Mom said...

Llama Momma - you got it! And I definitely like your reminder lists by the door, for those in your family who are in first grade.

Beth - We do forget quickly, don't we? But hey, at least we know our kids are bright - bright enough to trick us into taking on their jobs.

Gwendolyn said...

I loved this! Two of my children started public school this year after homeschooling...and I'm having a hard time staying out of it! Maybe I need to read that book. LOL

A Musing Mom said...

Gwendolyn - I think you've got something there. We moms probably need that book as much as our kids do. Even now I think about the fact that I was "reminding" my daughter to take responsibility to remember her flute, but oops! I'd already done it for her, hadn't I? It's so hard to let them alone to potentially flop. But I guess it's harder for them if we don't.

Craver Vii said...

Wow, I love the way you've rearranged here! Great new look! (Maybe I was just slow to notice.) You're tagging your posts with your name? Now that's a-musing!

everydayMOM said...

I'm soooo with you about teaching kids responsibility. But I also have to constantly remind myself that they ARE KIDS!! The pressure that is on kids today is amazing. I couldn't have forgotten my flute (saxophone, actually) in grade school because we didn't even have band until high school!! The expectations on us weren't nearly as high.
Your daughter will someday smile and remember the day she forgot her lunch and Mom brought it over. The memory wouldn't be nearly as sweet if she were in another situation and missed out on that act of grace. =]

A Musing Mom said...

Craver - just to clarify, Tekeme Studios are the brains behind the new look. And yes, Amusing Mom is unveiled!

A Musing Mom said...

Emily - I could only hope that the child who came home that day complaining that she only had a sandwich and raisins for lunch (read: no sweets) would one day have sweeter memories of the incident.

An important distinction here as I think about this whole subject of responsibility: I agree that academic expectations seem to have risen for children of today. However, giving them responsibility is seeming to drop. I see so many parents run to their children's rescue over every little thing.

Note that I'm talking about my almost nine-and-a-half-year-old here. Case in point: by the time I was ten, I had my own paper route. This meant I had to get myself up at 5:30am and spend the next hour and a half getting the right newspaper to the right house - on my own, and be done in time to get ready for school. And I remember loving having that responsibility (most days).

Reality is, in previous generations to ours even, greater responsibility was given at even younger ages. By contrast, the children of today are virtually coddled (taking the academic side out of the equation).

Do you think the more rigorous academics of today necessitate this? Anyone want to chime in?

everydayMOM said...

Just to clarify... because I am in SUCH agreement with what you are saying!

My mantra is, "let's take some personal responsibility here, kids!" My expectations are pretty high... do your chores... remember your homework ... you eat healthy foods because they are GOOD for you, not because it's a rule... etc.

Then, we go to a karate class and I see that half the kids can't even line up when they are asked or follow directions. It IS discouraging that, as you say, a lot of kids aren't learning personal responsibility.

I was really trying to make a statement about myself and how I can have these high expectations and I have to remind myself to react with love and grace when they screw up. Because we ALL screw up. And they ARE KIDS! =]

Academic pressure... yes... I'm not sure how it is for most families, but it does make me want to cry that the norm for my 7 year old is two hours of homework every night. His teachers say they assign homework because many kids today aren't learning how to study, and perhaps that's true. Again, I just struggle for the right balance.

Lysa TerKeurst said...

This is great. I have been talking with my kids about this for a while.

I think I'll go meander a book store or our library and see if they have this book.

My mantra is "Your irresponsibility is not my emergency."

A Musing Mom said...

Everyday Mom - Amen! Balance is one of the trickiest things as a mom, isn't it?

Lysa - Thanks for stopping by! I think I may adopt your mantra as my kids get older (although there's always hope I won't have to, right?).

The Beast Mom said...

I haven't heard of this book, but I think the idea is GREAT. I'll have to go find it now!


Amy Jo said...

Hi there, just dropping by from Tekeme to check out your blog design. They did a great job! Also saw your links to books on writer...I'm a writer-in-process myself. Glad I dropped by. Blessings, Amy in OR

Lynn said...

I love this post, Lara. Just this summer my son rememembered back to when he was in fifth grade. He had forgotten all about his science fair project, and it was due the next day. He was shocked that night as my husband and I said good night and went to bed; it was the first time he'd stayed up later than we had. And it was the dawning of the realization that he, indeed, was responsible for his work, and if it didn't get done, no one was going to bail him out.

I'm happy to report that today I'm not a senior in college, and my college young man is very responsibly finishing up his electrical engineering degree, without his mother. Thank heavens because I don't even understand the titles of his classes :)