Somehow, I feel like a mother’s philosophy of raising children can be divided into two of her favorite expressions. The first is:
Only boring people get bored.
This was not so much a talk as it was a response to the cries of my brother, sister, or me when we were driving somewhere or if, God forbid, there was no formal work planned for many hours. While Rocky III did not play on HBO, The idea was that we should have enough strategies to have fun all the time. You can imagine how annoying this expression was when a 10-year-old boy owned a locksmith’s locks and keys, the contents of which proved to be boring. But apparently, the line was not annoying enough to stop me from using it at least once a week in my own house with my kids 25 years later. I just do not like this statement, but I have accepted it as my worldview.
Another statement from her mother reads:
Beauty is your reward.
I probably shouldn’t explain this to you, but to put it in a way that any parent can understand, it means: when your child reaches first place in the Third Grade Challenge Run, you should not feel the need to reward him with ice cream. sundae or iTouch. Success in itself is a reward. Feeling proud of what has been achieved is what builds self-esteem and motivates the child. No concrete consent should be required.
We are not very good at accepting this idea. I like to think that it was because of my celebration tendencies (not my indulgence in self-indulgence) that made me enjoy marking times and achievements with prizes, equipment, and so on. That’s why girls sometimes get a gift on the first or last day of school. And why do I usually end up promising Abby a double scoop of mint chip or the Littlest Pet Shop Mermaid if she dares to get her gun from a doctor? And that’s why I started the Summer Book Club, which rewards its reading with a trip to a soccer store or toy store. At the toy store, I do not mean FAO Schwartz; I mean the local writing store that sells the little notebook Phoebe desires; or eBay, where Abby can get dollhouse furniture for under $5 plus shipping. It is amazing how effective this strategy is. As soon as I drew two different summer reading lists (and checklists) and handed them over, Abby was wrapped up in a dog reading the Amulet (10 points) and Phoebe was asking why the library should be closed on Thursday. of July.
The system is simple: Anything they read — whether it’s a chapter book, a comic book, or even an article in Spider — will earn them a specific number of points, and once they’ve amassed enough points they are eligible to collect prizes. Fifteen points earns them a pack of stickers or a notebook. Thirty is a sleepover in our bedroom even on nights we say No way, not tonight. Eighty is a trip to Playland or the Bronx Zoo. The grand prize — 180 points — is dinner out an a restaurant of their choice.
Is this bribery? Definitely. Would my Mom approve? Probably not. But at least no one is pleading boredom.
Half the fun: Decorating their folders.
I stacked all the summer reading selections we owned in one place so they’d be easily accessible.
Day 1: Phoebe has already amassed 20 points and is eligible for a trip to the stationery store.
And here’s where she brings it around to dinner!
From Dinner a Love Story