Life is so Good


What my daughter does every day is play and begs for candy.  She is almost five years old.  My son is eight years old.  He is in 2nd grade and what he does every day is mostly play too; not that he doesn’t study at all, but that the amount of time he puts into studying is very limited.  He likes math - not the extremely challenged math - but hates language and art.  The daily fifteen-minute reading assignment is a torture to him.  It is a class assignment, so he has no choice but to do it; however, he still dreads doing it every day.  The consequence for not completing his assignment would be to make it up the next day, which cuts down his time to play computer games or to watch TV the next day.  The perk for finishing his assignment is a coupon from the teacher for a free pizza when he finishes reading 3.5 hours in a week.  Aside from that, he is rewarded by his parents with four times the computer time.  He is not the brightest in his class.  Do I care?  No, I am happy as long as he is at or above average.    


I know.  Everyone has different parenting philosophy, so don’t criticize me for raising our kids with the laissez-faire style.  I am not a tiger mom.  Our parents didn’t push us to the nth degree to achieve academic excellence.  In addition, my husband and I didn’t graduate from an Ivy League school.  That said, do my husband and I have a bright future?  Yes, we do.  Do we have a good career?  Yes, we do.  Are we a contributing member in the society?  Yes, we definitely are.  From where we stand and from our experience, we try to offer an environment where our kids can learn from play.  We try to nurture our kids in a way that they can still have a healthy and happy childhood.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t care about getting our kids prepared for their future or ensuring that our kids have a bright future.  They can still have all that and enjoy being a kid.  You only get one childhood in your life.  Who gives you the right to deprive your children’s childhood just for being their parents?  Have you tried to see from the eyes of your kids?  Why judge everything from your standpoint with monetary value? 


I tried to make sure that my son has fun while learning and limit the part that is not fun.  While some parents spent tons of money sending their kids to Kumons and hiring experienced and expensive tutors to provide private tutoring to their kids, we enrolled our kids in skiing and skating group lessons so they can pursue their passion for the sports and to learn to interact with others socially as well.  My son has a strong interest in Science and Lego.  The Mad Science and the Lego after school programs allow him to explore his interest and learn from play such as shooting rockets and building Legos with computer chips programmed to execute commands. 


However, there still comes a time when learning is not fun.  Like I said earlier, my son hates language and art.  So you can imagine his reaction when he learned that he had to go to a 45-minute Writer’s Workshop held by our high school students to get ideas of what to write and then another 45-minute Writer’s Workshop to present what he writes to get feedback.  The time commitment to these classes is minuscule, only one and a half hour in total, compared to all the fun activities he attends.  Anyway, he still thinks of me as a mean mommy for signing him up.  Well, the mean mommy had no way to push him to turn in his story for the next Writer’s Workshop, so I was delighted to load it off my shoulder and place it on his dad.  My husband is the one who monitors my son to make sure that he completes his school work every day.  I get mad at my son too easily.  I just can’t stand the way he drags to do his school work.  He would whine for half an hour before he gives in to do his homework which takes as little as five minutes and at a maximum fifteen minutes of his time.  In addition, he doesn’t get homework assignment every day.  No matter how many times I told him that the time that he wasted in whining would equate to the time he lost in playing computer games and watching TV, he still could not get it.  I don’t know if there is a class for kids on time management.  He sure needs it.  He is such a slowpoke.


For your entertainment, this is the result from his dad’s coercion to try to get him to write a story.  He didn’t even come up with the story on his own.  It is a story adapted from a Lego video game called “NinjaGo”.  Anyway, at least he wrote something.      


The NinjaGo by my little boy on 2/13/2011


    Once upon a time, long ago, there were four ninjas named Jay, Cole, Zane and Kai.  They were trained by Sensei Wu to be ninjas to defeat his brother Lord Garmodon and his army, and to rescue Kai’s sister.  Lord Garmodon’s army was full of dangerous dragons and scary skeletons.


    The four ninjas traveled to different castles around China and defeated the army.  Then they traveled to the Underworld and tried to defeat Lord Garmodon, but Lord Garmodon was very strong and almost defeated the four ninjas.  The four ninjas fought very hard.


    Finally, the four ninjas defeated Lord Garmodon and got Kai’s sister back from the Underworld.  Then they returned to Sensei Wu, who gave them four golden weapons for defeating Lord Garmodon.  Kai and Cole were both given swords, Zane was given a chain, and Jay was given a spear.



Written by Elisa English and her son, all rights reserved

On 2/13/2011 in Minneapolis.


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