Friday, March 13, 2009

Differences in Kid Philosophies

It is common for us to compare and contrast SOB and NOB.

Winners and losers.
In Mexico childrearing, we have noticed that the concept of winning and losing is portrayed realistically.

For example, every 2-3 months Oldest Son has a week of Spanish exams and a week of English exams. The exams cover math, science, grammar, spelling, history and personal responsibility. The grades are shared with all students after each exam. The scores are totaled and there are 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place diplomas awarded in 2 school wide assemblies – one for Spanish diplomas and 1 for English diplomas. It is a big deal. See somes pics above of today's assembly. (Oldest Son received a 2nd place diploma in Spanish a couple weeks ago – his first Spanish award! And, of course, he received a 1st in English today.)

At Halloween, there was a costume contest where winners were chosen by applause. Even the preschool winners were selected this way.

The Expo had a winning Country Group who gets to go to the movies as a reward. Interestingly, the preschool Mexico group won which was well deserved – their dancing was incredible!
The kids all seem to handle in a good natured way. There are no trophies or prizes for all or for just participating as is often the case in the USA.
Call me harsh but I think this real approach teaches important lessons about sportsmanship, effort, acceptance, humility, joy, pride and disappointment that should be absorbed in appropriate doses early in life. It is a good thing.

Futbol Sensibilities.
Oldest Son and Youngest Son are now playing soccer after school with boys their age. They meet a couple times a week at the school grounds. The coach (who only speaks Spanish) has the boys practice skills and then scrimmage among themselves. No weekend games. No uniforms. No snacks. No hovering parents. No car pools. No trophies. I guess you can tell I like this approach. It is an appropriate level of extracurricular activity for boys under the age of 11. And selfishly, it is also easy on the parents. It is a good thing.
Lovely friends arrived in from USA tonight. We said our Shabbat prayers with them. A Jewish man staying with his friend walked over from next door to wish us Shabbat Shalom – he had heard our prayers through the open doors … Shabbat Shalom to friends and strangers alike …


Bob Mrotek said...

Reading in between the lines I realize how difficult it must be for your family to understand much less participate in the Roman salute. Being a veteran and the son of a veteran I felt the same way the first time I experienced it. Nevertheless it is part of the culture that one must accept with an open mind. I am sure that you and your husband and the boys will discuss this and come to some sort of consensus. Thank Goodness that you are a strong, loving, and united family.

American Mommy in Mexico said...
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American Mommy in Mexico said...

BM - Actually you have caught me off guard and I am a bit embarrassed. I see the kids doing the salute but have not thought much about it. I guess I just did what you said and just thought of it as part of Mexico culture.

I think perhaps this is a "teachable moment" that has not occurred to me. If you have any of that amazing wealth of information you possess on the meaning in MX to help me - I would welcome the input.

Bob Mrotek said...

I think it is I who should be embarrassed. The salute that is given in Mexico is the traditional Roman salute that goes back two thousand years. However, in the U.S. in the 1930's and 40's it became associated with Hitler and the Third Reich who were enamored with everything Roman. I perhaps erroneously thought that this salute might be particularly offensive to people of the Jewish faith and confusing to the kids. The fact that it wasn't is a good sign and things in the past should best be left in the past. Please forgive my heavy footed blunder.

Calypso said...

I am a recent convert to futbal (soccer). Watching games with my Mexican buddies feels very similar to watching U.S. football with friends. My amigos seem to have the same competitive energies.

You have brought up some interesting comparisons relating to attitude and sportsmanship.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

BM - You are correct that certainly in the Nazi context we would be offended - even today from white supremacist groups and the like.

I talked to Husband after reading your comment. To see what he thought. He views it as the Roman Salute as intended. That is a good thing.

I still think we have an opportunity for discussion with the kids. First - to talk to them about how and why it is used in MX and the origins. (Do you know the specific MX history of why used?) And Second - to talk about how it was used in Nazi Germany. Kids should be able to put things in prespective and this will give them concrete examples.

Thanks for your thoughts. Dialogue is always good.

And yes, it is a very good thing that Husband and I are able to separate intent. Many important symbols are polluted in this world, unfortunately.

American Mommy in Mexico said...

C - We are thrilled that the kids are wanting to play futbol. It gives them another avenue to explore the Spanish Language and even more importantly be part of a sport so important in Mexico. It also provides a touchpoint to expand their social relationships with their Mexican friends.

In the USA, parenting has gone a bit over the top in making sure nobody has hurt feeelings. While the sentiment is well intended and no one wants to see a disappointed kid - I worry we are raising a generation of kids with unrealistic experiences on what the real world is all about.

Steve said...

AMM -- Our company has a "pay for performance" system. It has its fault, but it appears to reward high performers and to give an economic incentive to others to improve their performance. My generation loves it. Especially the attorneys. But the young employess are a bit confused. They do not understand why everyone is not paid the same -- and they are confounded that supervisors would suggest that they could be doing better. After all, they were all A students in school. The confusion can probably be traced to soccer matches and grade school projects where everyone is a winner. It is kind, but it is not realistic. It also ends up confusing being nice with being good. Thank you for the thoughtful commentary.

Bob Mrotek said...

On Mexican Time said...

I am so happy your kids are able to play futbol and enjoy the experience! The World Cup in 2010 is the most watched sporting event in the world!!! It will be a great experience for you all if you are still in Mexico.... Especially if Mexico can pick up their game!!!!I'm a soccer/futbol fanatic! I have a younger brother who played in Spain, and a grandfather who played professionally...It's in my blood!

American Mommy in Mexico said...

S - Thanks for your thoughts on Pay for Performance - also of interest to me as an HR professional.

OMT - The kids enjoyed soccer in the US so it will be interesting to see the developments here ...

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

You are so right about the sensitivity sweep that has taken over parenting. My kids love learning that they did not do something right and learning from it.