Monday, June 4, 2012

SEVEN QUICK TAKES

1.  Today I wrote the first post for my new blog.  Until I do a few "catch up" posts, though, I'm not going to send it out on its own.  The new blog is still on blogger, but I have an alias, as do the children....so hopefully, the feel of it won't be different, but the kids will be a bit more protected from the prying eyes of search engines.

2.  Last Sunday I hosted another reception for 200 after a large number of adults and children came into the church for the Feast of the Ascension.  One thing I learned (because we put on almost exactly the same meal as we put on for the Easter Vigil reception) is that people eat a LOT more at noon than they do at midnight!  I don't think anyone piled their plates at the Easter celebration, but I was horrified to see how people were piling it on last week.....those at the end of the line got pretty meager fare.  I was sorry about that.  Overall, though it went well and I kept reminding myself:  we were not running a feeding station for the starving!  If someone didn't get a heaping plate of food, it was not going to be the end of the world.  There was certainly cake and punch for all.

3. Aidan marched in last week's National Memorial Day Parade.  This was broadcast on a lot of stations throughout the country, but not on our comcast line-up, so we figured out how to have the streamed version from the internet display on our TV screen.  I have to say, nothing makes you feel quite as lame as spending a holiday watching a parade on TV!  But, watch we did - and the parade itself was very nice (just wish I'd been there in person)....I particularly wished this when the streaming stopped just as Aidan's group was going to show up.  Really.  I couldn't believe it either.

4.  On Thursday night Zhen's school had their end-of-the-year event.  There was the graduation of one HS student, a display of student learning, and prize-giving..  All the HS students had to give a speech.  I was a bit dismayed that though nine of them spoke on "The Value of Education" only one of them mentioned anything apart from getting a good job and making money.  I was startled, to tell you the truth.  I can honestly say that I never in my life looked at education as a way to acquire wealth. (Well - we can all tell that, can't we!)

Looks rather quaint, doesn't it?
5.  The elementary students displayed their memory prowess.  This teacher is quite old-fashioned, to many minds, but I like the emphasis on memorization, and I think both the things memorized and the memorization skills learned are hugely valuable.  Each student said their "piece" - Zhen recited the Preamble to the Constitution; other students shared the Books of the Bible, the Presidents, a number of different Scripture passages (for example, the entire nativity narrative from Luke - we're not talking short pieces, here!); one boy recited the Declaration of Independence, another the entire "Dream" speech of Martin Luther King.  The boy who shared the MLK is a pastor's son, and his dad must have been beaming - I was misty-eyed; he did a tremendous job and it was powerful.  Zhen's piece was comparitively small, but to my amazement, he followed my advice to say it "loud and slow", and every word was clear - including "traniquity" [which replaced "tranquility"] And all the kids had, over the course of the year, memorized all the pieces.  Pretty impressive.


As you can see, he was happy though.
6. I had another experience of inner misery at the prize-giving.  Now I am only too aware that Zhen is not going to win any academic prizes until he focuses on working a bit harder, and I am also really pleased that his teacher makes sure she gives an appropriate award to every student.  However, I think she ran out of time to think about it, because three students of the eight all got the same award "Most Improved" - and frankly, who wouldn't see the contradiction in that?  In her remarks, however, it was clear that his improvement consisted of beginning to work harder, so I guess that's good.  I asked him later which of the academic awards he would most have liked to receive....and he shared that he thought he would have gotten an award for Best Artist.  I realized - of course!  He should have! But she didn't give one. He is a remarkable artist.  And, then I recalled that Anastasia got an award for art when she had this teacher.  Beats me.  Maybe Mrs. A was more interested in rewarding his improved work-ethic.  (Though from my seat it felt more like a public announcement that my child was a lazy good for nothing for most of the year.)

7. S.spent Saturday assisting an electrician install electricity in someone's new addition.  Sergei has a real interest in this field, but this was his first opportunity to really experience it close-up.  He said it was awesome, and I am thrilled.  

8 comments:

Hevel Cohen said...

I have to admit I never quite got the awards for everyone concept. I mean, it's pretty much a communist concept of everyone getting the same reward, regardless of the effort and ability.

(And I'm only half kidding.)

Milena said...

May I please get to read your new blog, once you start inviting?

How nice that Sergei got an opportunity to try something he's interested in!

on our way today said...

2 of mine are outstanding artists too and my 10 yr old son is most proud of his artistic abilities--yet he never wins any contests at school or is recognized for it. usually girls win these prizes. Once he got an award in K for most improved too since academics are not his strong point either and i felt like it was a pity award.

CrossRiver Media said...

I, too, would love to have the new address. I know you can't post it here, but if you could PM it to me on Facebook, that would wonderful. If not, that is fine too. ;)

I SO get the conundrum of end-of-the-year awards. Alek had to go to the sports banquet at the end of the year because he was involved in track. (Even though we had only been there a month at that point) and they forgot to call his name. UGH! Talk about a HUGE letdown for our big guy. Thankfully, someone pointed it out to the coach (as he was walking back to his seat) and he came back up and corrected himself...but the damage was already done.

Annie said...

The awards thing is always a problem, though perhaps it is motivating for some, on some level, and a nice reward. In her small class of eight I think an award makes sense, but what she generally does is offer an "award" which is more of a celebration of the unique gifts each child brings to the class. This year was a bit different.

I'm glad Lydia was a stellar dancer, or I would have forever been the mother who had no idea what it was like to have a child's name called. At the church school, where the kids went for much of the time (all of them at various times) I think there was not too much chance my kids would get an award unless they were so much heads above everyone else that it COULDN'T look like it was "just because...."

As moms we love our children so much and all of us want our own dear one to be celebrated....it is just hard when they are not! I'm so sorry Tami! He must have felt awful....and you, too. No matter how much we may "understand" these things, they still hurt.

Anonymous said...

How tall is Zhen now???? I'm afraid I won't recognize him when I get to see him again!

And it was a CRIME for Zhen to not be recognized for his amazing art talent. I would absolutely *love* to have one of his art pieces framed in my house!!!! He's spectacular!

And, as you may remember, I HATE AWARDS because it seems the "special few" walk away with EVERYTHING and not so much for the rest.

Miss you my friend!

Nora

Annie said...

Nora - did Viktor earn a trip north?

Nora Sailor said...

Oh gosh....I will have to write you privately on that one! :( He earned it and lost it both - terrible scandle.......

James is moving down in a couple of weeks. Jake soon after. I wanted to see if I could finagle a visit to MI w/o being seen as a flip-floppy mom, but now where would he stay???

Seeing Zhen is so very important to him...

This is a rewarding life...but not an easy one!!!