Monday, November 28, 2005
little boys cry?
ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO II / AP
Girls learn to disassemble and re-assemble Kalashnikov rifles during a lesson at the cadets' boarding school No. 9 for girls in Moscow, Saturday. The school offers to its pupils a strong spirit of discipline and patriotism.
So the above wasn't exactly my day at school today (photo from Seattle Times), but I was still on edge for most of the day. Coming off the Thanksgiving weekend, the kindergarteners were really antsy and seemed to have a much harder time concentrating than normal. There were some discipline problems, but probably not the ones you'd typically expect from a little boy.
One of the younger kids, a skinny Asian boy named Chip*, just wouldn't stop crying. About 20 minutes into the day, right in the middle of story time, he just lost it and started bawling. At first I thought that maybe one of the other kids had socked him when I wasn't looking, but he kept calling out, "I WANT MY DADDY" and "I WANT TO GO HOME" in between his moaning and crying. While my supervising teacher kept working with the rest of the class, I took him aside and tried to calm him down.
As a professional educator, I know I'm supposed to remain objective and unaffected by the sight of a crying child... still, it was hard to deal with, especially in a case where the issue is the child's own personal feelings and not an external circumstance like a physical injury or mistreatment by a classmate. As a teacher, I've been trained to recognize Chip's feelings and encourage him to not repress them... but as a guy (especially an Asian American guy raised the way I was), I had to resist the compulsion to treat him harshly and instill the blanket stoicism that is typical of most Asian American guys - real men don't cry; real men suck it up and endure.
It's hard to walk the fine line between raising a kid that's a whinny cry baby and a kid who's an emotionless robot unable to express his feelings. In the end, nothing worked with Chip... not trips to the counselor, not trips to the principal, etc. The poor guy just kept crying aloud the rest of the day at varying degrees of loud and soft. Finally, I had to just say to him, "Chip, I need you to be tough and to stop crying... you're a big boy now, and big boys don't cry loudly." Yeah, I threw in some social gender role expectations... not the popular thing to say, but it worked. He at least stopped crying loudly.
Hopefully tomorrow is better.
*Not his real name, of course
of all the complaints i have about parenting in Japan, i have noticed that children do cry less here. little kids who fall down and scrap their knees -- a few alligator tears, but only to justify the physical pain. and never cry for attention despite the fact that parents spoil the kids near rotten and expect the schools to each moral education (okay, partial rant there)
i did laugh aloud when you had to employ the "big boys don't cry LOUDLY" method. hey, it did work... this time.
Asian boys cry and Russian girls learn how to put together a rifle, crazy times we live in...crazy times.
you spelled principal wrong, unless "trips to the principle" means something other than what I think it does.Post a Comment