When do kids choices really count? Or more importantly…do we as parents, teachers and guardians recognize kids choices really count? So often, we adults set up scenarios for our kids to make choices… and when they do… their choices are discounted or invalidated.
Hang in there and I’ll explain, using the following example.
Each student, in my grandson Glade’s third grade class, was ask to choose and report on their “Super Hero.” The report would included a bio, an oral report, and the portrayal of their “Super Hero” in a Wax Museum. Glade was delighted to share his excitement about his “Super Hero”….. Rocky Balboa.
Now, you have to understand, this boy is pretty intense when it comes to his “Super Heroes.” When he was 4, his hero was Spiderman. He wore a Spiderman costume all through the heat of summer.. until it became shreds and fell apart.
Then, he turned to Superman. He zoomed around the house for months with his cape flying from behind. He was disappointed that his hair was blond and not black. A couple of years ago, Rocky came on the scene and has remained a constant. Glade often does daily routines… which sometimes includes… lifting the end of the couch in order to better define his “six pack.”
Last year, for Christmas, he received a much wanted leather jacket. He even tucked it under his arm when he slept at night. Emily, his mom, supports Glade and has the Rocky music theme on her phone. When it rings… she knows who’s calling.
So… when Glade came home and told his mom that his teacher said that “Rocky” wasn’t good enough to be his “Super Hero” … the war was on. “Rocky” became an issue for debate between the Emily and the teacher.
We, adults, often stand in the way of our children’s self-reliance and creativity by supervising, restricting, directing, and over parenting. We call this behavior, guidance and then wonder why our kids can’t make wise decisions when we’re not around.
The issue here is… the children were ask to select their own “Super Hero.” If the teacher had something more specific in mind… it should have been expressed in the beginning, rather than invalidate Glades choice after his decision was made.
Constant invalidation is one behavior that will eventually destroy the the best of relationships. However, it has become a common practice to use this conduct to nullify each other… just watch the behavior on sitcoms. It’s especially detrimental when it’s constantly used to control children.
To make a long story short… a compromise was made and Glade was Sylvester Stallone…. even though “Rocky Balboa” has his own web site…stands as a statue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, has his foot prints in gold on the stairs leading to the museum, and thousands climb the steps and strike a Rocky-like pose as a symbol of guts and fortitude. City Commerce Director Dick Doran said Rocky had done more for the city’s image “than anyone since Ben Franklin.”
Whether you agree that Stallone is a “Super Hero” or not…. is not the point. The issues is… he is Glade’s choice.
I attended the Wax Museum presentation and was impressed with the clever creativity and care that went into the costumes. There were over 100 participants and the kids were so careful to pose and be still. Quite a feat for a third grader. Way to go Harvest Hill’s third graders! Here are a few shots I thought you would enjoy.
Is this little girl gorgeous or what? I don’t know where they got this costume.. but it’s beautiful. Well done Cleo!
This young man’s mom said she had to really talk him into wearing the wig. She said, “With that wig on, no one will recognize you anyway.” Thanks Columbus… for your contribution to America!
This little beauty is Diana. When I approached her with my camera in hand… She gave me this striking Diana pose.
I kept my eye on this fellow… and he held that pose for a long long time before putting his arm down to rest. He did Steve Young proud.
Isn’t this the sweetest face. I thought she actually looked like Ameila Earhert’s photos. She was another one who stood so still she really could have been wax.
This handsome fellow was one of my favorites. Maybe it’s because Gandhi is one of my “Super Heroes.” I remember seeing the real Gandhi in the newsreels at the movie theater… but that was probably before your time.
This little sweetie saw me coming with my camera and struck this precious pose long before I got to her. I kept watching her as I moved up the isle and she didn’t move. Sacajawea is another hero if mine. Have you read the book Sacajawea by Anna L Waldo? If you haven’t … it’s a worthwhile read.
Look at the photo of Teddy Roosevelt and compare. What a great costume and likeness. In my book, this fellow gets an “A.”
There were lots of portrayals of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan… but I thought these costumes were the best. These gals were so patient and held so still while I fiddled with my camera. I had to take their photo 4 times to get the light just right.
Last but not least… my number one hero, Glade Neff….Slyvester Stallone. Way to go bud. Hang in there… you make me proud.
P.S. When do kids choices really count? They always count. Perhaps the real question is… how do they determine the choices they make?
P.P.S. In my book…Raising Fantastic Kids, I explore in depth ways you can positively help your kids to make good choices.