Monday, November 8, 2010

The Difference between Right and Real

"Isn't Will Solveit a good guy?", asked my son. "Then why does he chat with his friend while his teacher is teaching?"
I had no answer. You really should not be chatting in class. It is not to say I never did- I've passed notes on chits of paper for as long as I can remember. And had the technology existed, I am sure I would have IM-ed too. But it is 'wrong'. No matter how boring the class, you should concentrate. And children's books should not condone disruptive behaviour.

How do you draw the line between 'right' and real?

drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words.

I am also blogging at Burrowers, Books & Balderdash on how Reading helps you to determine what is Right and Wrong.


Margot Kinberg said...

Rayna - You raise a very good question, as always. As you say, in real life, children pass notes in class or chat with their friends. In real life, people drive over the speed limit. They even do worse things than that. Not to write about those things is not to acknowledge reality. On the other hand, speeding is wrong. So are many other things people do, and I can understand why you wouldn't want to condone certain behaviours in children's books especially. I think children like your son are old enough to begin to learn that doing something like chatting in class is wrong, but not in the way that, for instance, stealing is wrong. In other words, children your son's age can learn the "shades of grey" there are with respect to those things. Especially as he has a wonderful mother like you to explain.

Jemi Fraser said...

I think one way to try to balance the reality and rightness is to include some consequences and feelings of guilt and nervousness - proof of a conscience... But not preachy - because no one's going to read that! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I usually do the right thing. Okay, except for that obeying the speed limit thing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Just wait until he moves into YA books, Rayna!

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Margot- it is a really hard one, isn't it? As a mother, I would rather not have to deal with it, but I do realise that the book is actually targeted at kids a bit older than my son is.
Had I known how difficult parenting was going to be, would I have signed up for it?

@ Jemi- I think that was what made me mad- the kid was actually gloating about fooling the teacher and doing many things he should not be doing. Had he been contrite, I wouldn't have minded.

@ Alex - speed limit is okay- I stay well within it so the two of us can balance out.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Diane- am I dreading that!!! But by then, I would hope the kid learns to differenciate between the shades of grey.

Jules said...

Well I hate to tell you but even adults have trouble with that one :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Clarissa Draper said...

I think it's important to talk to your kids about reality but show them the benefits of right.

Great post.

kmckendry said...

While I would rather have books/movies promote good behavior for our children, sometimes, reading what you don't agree with helps to bring up important conversations with your kids. It turns into a good learning opportunity for them.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

W-e-l-l....I admit, I've done that too, but I agree-it doesn't make it right.

LTM said...

ew, that's a great question. I think if you show the consequences of the behavior, you've done a good, responsible job. Yes? :o) <3

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

When a book makes some sort of bad behavior seem ok, I think all a parent can do is try to explain right from wrong and the reasons why - reminding the child it’s just a story.

Danette said...

When I read stories like that to my kids, I always said "and by the way, if you do this, there will be problems as you are not allowed to behave like this." It's okay to acknowledge that you have different standards of behavior than other parents. My son knows my rules are tougher than his dad's rules It's not easy but he respects that that is the way it is. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for.

Anonymous said...

It's tough, but I do think that teachers should make space in their class for little pockets of time in which kids can chat or let off steam. In our school, my son has a strict teacher that never lets them say a word. That's hard when you're seven.

My 9-yr-old daughter has a much more modern teacher, who lets them pass notes, and who lets them do fun things and play music and sing while they're cleaning the classroom and stuff. My daughter is learning much more with this new teacher than with the strict one she had...

Rayna M. Iyer said...

@ Jules- they do, don't they?

@ Clarissa- so true. And yet so difficult.

@ kmckendry- never thought of it quite that way, but now that you mention it, that makes sense

@ Oddyoddyo13- as have I.

@ Leigh- as if parenting was not hard enough *sigh*

@ Jane- which is what I tried. But it is hard to make a kid understand that.

@ Danette- which is what I am trying to do too. And when I get mad at them for doing something they should not be doing, I also tell them I did the same and got yelled at myself.
Not sure if it is right or wrong, but it is honest.

@ Fiona - that would be really cool. Though to be honest, their teacher is better than most, and allows them quite a bit of leeway.


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