For a change of pace / some good news, I witnessed some really top-notch parenting today. Was super impressed and fell in love with the family I'm staying with even more.
The two girls and I were doing homework on the kitchen table, when the mom came home from work. The younger girl (m- ), nine years old, was starting to get frustrated with her workbook, and was complaining that the exercises were too repetitive.
She was getting really worked up, and was saying how she didn't want to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and said that another of the classes in her school didn't have to do exercises over the holidays.
The whole time the mom was super calm in responding to her, and then she hit her with this truth: "Maybe it's true that you have to do homework over the holidays, and the other class doesn't. Lucky them! But that doesn't change anything for you - you still have to do the homework in the end. Does it do anything to be upset and fight it the whole way? You can choose to be angry and complain every time you work, or you can choose to enjoy it and find a way to be happy in the work."
Que madre! The whole conversation was super adult and well-reasoned. The mom didn't chastise or talk down to m-. She didn't yell at m- and simply tell her to do her homework, without explanation. She listened to m-'s complaints and responded with a explained a valuable lesson - that everyone in their life will find they have work to do, and your attitude towards your work is what will make it tolerable to you, or not.
Damn, I have to say I was really appreciative of the time she took to contribute in this way to her girls' education - not just their academic progress, but their learning to be better people and how to be proper citizens of the world.
In general, I've been super impressed with the kids I've seen in Spain. I always see young people walking around or meeting up with friends out in the city, and I love how independent the kids are here, and very unaffected and without airs.
I think parenting is one of the greatest challenges, and good parenting can be difficult to come by. Having grown up, essentially, without parents since the age of twelve, I've always been rather fascinated by those parents who do stick around, and who are involved in their children's lives.
It's been a difficult week in my family, and I've been thinking a lot about family, and what it means to support each other. Perhaps will write about this more -
For now though, aplausos a Angels for being a stellar mom.