Boundbytheword Blog

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A little cooperation, please? May 31, 2012

An interesting thing happened this week. My youngest daughter’s teacher called and asked us to attend the monthly assembly at the school because Lainey was getting the “character trait” award. I’ve mentioned this before, I’m sure, but to refresh your memory – in order to teach good values (that kids may not be getting at home) the school board has character trait posters and reminders plastered all over the school to teach kids about integrity, honesty, courage, etc. They then reward a chosen kid or kids from each class that have displayed the current character trait throughout the month. The chosen kid gets a ribbon (the ones you used to get in track and field) and certificate, and get to parade across the stage to accept the honour with a round of applause. I don’t know if it changes a rotten kid into a great one, but my kids have come home each year with a ribbon sooner or later, and they’ve been pretty impressed about it. If for no other reason than they get to walk around all day wearing a ribbon to signify that they are more “Inclusive”, “Empathetic”, “Optimistic” or “Caring” than everybody without the ribbon. Are we teaching kids that they need to be rewarded and applauded for showing normal and socially acceptable behavior, and teaching them to gloat about achieving it? As sad as that sounds, I would say that is what we are doing – keeping that bar low. You aren’t expected to do those things, but if you manage it – you get rewarded! I don’t know if we’re doing them any favours, but since this month it was my kid getting the award – hey, it’s a pretty good system.

Anyway, when my husband and I showed up at the assembly, I couldn’t find my son in the crowd. Turns out, he was also waiting backstage for a ribbon. Well, we plumped our pride and got our camera ready. Two great kids? Wow. Imagine our pride (and frankly, surprise) when both of our kids walked across the stage with ribbons for this month’s character trait: Cooperation.


For those of you not familiar with my children, let me clear up the confusion. My kids don’t cooperate. Ever. They fight about who has to go first at music lessons, who last filled the dog’s water bowl, who brushes their teeth first, who is faster, smarter, sweeter, or the family favourite. They battle over whether music should be on or off for the car ride, whose dish was left on the kitchen table, and who got to pick the last movie on family night. At any given time, either one of them will be hollering “UNFAIR” for any number of stupid reasons – that one of them got to pick first, go last, ride in front or have the bigger piece. There is little to no cooperation going on in this house – which is why I had to contain myself from jumping up and yelling “Fixed, fixed!” from the crowd of proud parents.

Those sneaky little jerks. You mean they actually know how to cooperate? Not only do they know how, but they stand apart from the rest of the class and excel with this particular character trait? Unbelievable. Never have I been so perturbed at my kids for coming home with an achievement ribbon. I wanted to ground them both for the rest of the week and confiscate those damn certificates. My husband and I went home wearing the “in yo’ face” and “gotcha, sucka” ribbons, wondering how we managed to do something so right and so wrong at the same time. I guess different rules apply when they’re out of the house.

Cooperation? Well, I’ll pull those ribbons out during the next round of “he’s looking at me/she’s so annoying/he won’t turn that down/she won’t stop bugging me”. At least we looked like stellar parents to the teachers and other adults at the assembly. We smiled, nodded our heads knowingly, and took all the credit we could – isn’t that what being a parent is all about?


10 Responses to “A little cooperation, please?”

  1. Glenna Says:

    Noelle you have 3 great kids and they have a great mom and I’m sure they will show it today as it is your Birthday (or it will be in 11/2 hrs from ) I hope you have a wonderful day and another day young
    enjoy the weekend Lov Glenna

  2. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    LOL. That’s always the way. Kids are better behaved away from home. I’m told that’s a sign of good parenting, but I’ve done my share of eyerolling when I’m told how wonderful, and helpful, and tidy, my kids are.

  3. Dale Long Says:

    My mom had a saying, piggies at home, puppies abroad. She was happy that we fit that saying.
    I always thought it meant, we were comfortable at home, so we were what we were, but we had respect and manners that were second nature while we were out.
    My girls are the same. There are times when they get along famously, and times when they are at each others throats. The fact that they are polite and helpful when left to their own devices in public makes me feel like we did something right even if we don’t know what it was. Kinda like intuitive writing, eh?
    Instead of putting those ribbons away, wear them proudly.

    • I have to admit Dale, they are good out and about with us in tow as well, so I guess fighting in the comfort of our own home is a small price to pay. Of course it feels that way right now because they’re in seperate rooms not fighting…lol.

  4. DD Says:

    Belated birthday greetings Noelle – just returned from God’s country and Dave mentioned to me how funny this blog was so I had, had, had to read it, cuz as a parent, I certainly can retelate.

    I remember the times when my daughter or son’s friend’s parents would tell me what a wonderful daughter or son I had. Undeniably pleased that my child had behaved so well at their friends home, picking up after themselves, getting along, talking (especially the boy child) to another adult in real words and sentences rather than the obligatory “huh, yes and no” and remembering their pleases and thank yous. Like Lisa’s comment above, that’s the way, kids are better behaved away from home than at home, but gosh, what I wouldn’t have given to come home from work some nights to a kitchen sink free of dishes, two children who were glad to see me and wanted to share their day instead of glad I’m home so I can referee the lastest and greatest battle.

    But then they grow up…….

    • So true Didi,

      I’m trying not to wish the years away because it does go so fast, but wow…some days – grrrr!

      Thanks for the b-day wishes. I had the first rainy birthday that I can ever remember. Boo for the rain. Bring on the sun!

  5. Sam and Lainey LOOK so completely adorable AND co-operative, so I’m officially snickering!

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