Sunday, December 28, 2008

Boring stuff

Another end of term. Another Advent Service. Another end-of-term concert.

Another good report from school. Son was over the moon that his grades for Religious Studies (consistently at C last year) is now an A. There were no exams, written work, etc. He was being judged on his 'performance' in class. Son does not like participating when he does not know the answers.

What irked him most was that 'Religious Studies' was more 'History' to him. This boy likes to call a spade and spade.

In PE, too, he was rewarded with better grades than his previous C's. Though he is not in the 'A' team, etc, it appears that his attitude, performance, effort, etc. have really improved. An 'A'. Good lad! We already knew he was third in the whole form for 'agility' and his 'beep test' also shows that he is above average for his age. Good lad!

However we were surprised that he was not awarded his Band badge. He took it very well. I was amazed. Perhaps the Band Master requires a longer service period before they get their badges. The point is, he did not cry over his disappointment.

He also started on Music Theory lessons. He was chuffed as it was clear that it was all about Maths. The teacher put him through a Grade One paper and he would have breezed it.

Next lesson in the new year. Question is: would he do his theory homework?? Watch this space.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What do boys talk about?

Some time ago I was alarmed to learn that a friend's son was teased out of playing a role in a school play.

This boy was discovered to be able to sing. So the teacher gave him a part. But he has to partner someone in this, a girl.

It didn't take long for the poor boy to be teased about how this girl likes him. He got so embarrassed that he decided to resign his role.

Then it occurred to me as to why boys tease. Or more specifically, why ten-year-old boys tease.

Because they are not disposed to discussing the latest in politics, religion (probably frowned upon by the authorities, any way), quantum physics or existential philosophy.

That leaves them with football, maybe something else on TV and then as soon as they run out of topics for discussion, Ah! we could say silly things about so-and-so.

These are usually said with no malice at all. It's akin to those 'staring incidents'. No, I was not staring at you, but my eyes need to rest on something and it happens to be you and so you thought I was staring.

The boys know that "So-and-so likes so-and-so" is groundless, but it gives them something to say.

I remember mulling over the issue of gossip in sheltered housing for older people. Why do they speak such utter nonsense about their equally elderly neighbours? Because they simply have nothing better to do.

This morning a boy from the other class in the Form came up to my son while I was still with him to say, "LT, LT, I saw so-and-so and so-and-so having a very loud argument."

We witnessed some of that ourselves and in fact so-and-so had spoken to me (ex-PTA Chair) to vent some of his frustration.

I said to that young man, "There is no need to repeat such information. Nobody else needs to know."

He gave me a funny look. This was 'Mr Bossy' himself and he does not like being told what he could or could not do.

My son reiterated my point, "Remember, never again," as Mr Bossy stalked off.

Does it matter that Mr Bossy witnessed an unpleasant exchange of words? How does it add to his life to go around telling other boys this?

Apart from the fact it gives him an excuse to verbalize something and perhaps hold court for a few more seconds than he really deserves.

My son comes home from school sometimes distraught that some boys had been teasing him.

Once it was about a photograph. The French teacher wanted a picture of his extended family. The only one conveniently available showed him about four years younger, sitting on his Nanny's knees.

They teased him about being a baby.

When I got round to telling him what silliness this was as everyone was once a baby, he realized that it was not worth the tears. It was ignorance on the part of the boys more than anything else.

To be very honest, my son is much happier discussing, uhm, Descartes.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Son got talent

Before the euphoria fades away ....

Last Friday we had the school fair. I was roped in at the last minute to man the sweets stall. Big mistake.

When the boys came in, there was such a rush. I have seen much better behaviour at soup queues.

I put it down to the fact that these boys are rather 'deprived'. They are not usually allowed the wide array of E-numbers now in front of me. But this is a fundraising fair and their parents had actually given them money to buy stuff they are not allowed to eat at home. I have now to write a report to the Chairman of the PTA about the next sweets stall.

Then we (husband, son and I) battled the traffic on the M25 to our church weekend away. Husband somehow managed to persuade son to bring along his clarinet as there was to be a talent show.

No, he was not not about to take part. Then he was. Then the paper to register went missing. Then he found the youth pastor who had that bit of paper. Then he did not know how long his piece would take. Then Mum had to time him singing the tune in his head.

So come Saturday evening, item #5 was our son playing 'Stranger on the Shore' (Bilk) unaccompanied to an audience of about 100. We could hear a pin drop. When he stopped the place erupted into applause for some time.

One of the judges (someone dressed in a Kangeroo costume) 'said' via her interpreter (another judge, leader of the young people's activities) that it reminded her of a didgeridoo. Her interpreter said the only shortcoming was he was not playing to a larger audience. Can't remember what the third judge said.

In the end, after much laughter and brave attempts by other acts, son was declared the winner and won -- for keeps -- a trophy which once stood on someone's birthday cake. He was delighted.

Lots of people came to congratulate this shy young man who is coming out of his shell (he even heckled the other performers) and he went to bed very happy.

The theme for the weekend was Joseph (his talents, training, fulfilling God's plan for his own people, etc), and once again we are talking about how our son might choose to use his gifts.

Meanwhile I will replay over and over again those three minutes that he played to that audience who listened so attentively.