Tough Love

There's a famous story about me that gets told more often than I like.  It's about my first day at work... ever.  I was teaching K-8 music at a private school and had never stepped foot into a classroom (as a teacher) before that day.  You see, I wasn't really qualified for this job, as I have a performance degree... not a teaching one.  I was meant born to be a diva... but as life would have it, I was not.  So I grudgingly agreed to teach for a fee.

Well, when you're first going in to teaching, everyone tells you that your first days set the tone for your entire year.  You need to lay down the law and take control on day 1 or you've already lost them.  Basically, be a huge bitch.  Only, they didn't tell me that maybe I could ease up with the kindergardeners. Oops.

So, in my kindergarden class, I had a little girl who started acting up... you know, like a 5 year old... only I thought she was being disobedient.  So I put her on time out.  I am NO NONSENSE!  Well, naturally she started to cry.  But when I mean cry, I should actually say wailing... or screaming like a banshee.  It was horrible and set the tone in my class... a negative tone.

So I told her, "If you're gonna cry, cry in the corner quietly".

That's where I get my notoriety. How could I possibly tell a 5 year old girl, on her FIRST day of school EVER to cry QUIETLY in the corner?!  What kind of a monster am I?!

You know what I figured out teaching that first job?  I'm not very good with little kids.  I don't care if your "finger hurts" or if you "miss your mommy"... I just don't.

And now, as a MOM, I realize I STILL DON'T CARE!

Not even with my OWN kids.

Please don't get me wrong, I adore everything about my kids.  And if they are genuinely hurt or sad, of COURSE I comfort them.  But like I said, I am no nonsense.

If Marco is faking it... I tell him to "dry it up".
If Marco is over reacting about an injury... I ask him if we should "cut it off"?

Most of the time when he gets hurt, I give him a rub and a kiss and send him on his way to go play.  And for that, I have a pretty tough kid.  Now I know that when he cries... when he REALLY cries... it's because he's REALLY hurt.

With Jonas, I'm much softer.  Aside from being younger, his demeanor is much more sensitive than Marco's.  He gets his feelings hurt and cries with lots of emotion... tears, sniffles, gasps and all.  It's all a little dramatic, but every kid is different.

That's just how I am.  Not even the joys of motherhood could soften my heart.  haha.

And as for my teaching?  In that one year, I realized I'm not cut out to teach elementary.  I got a job the very next year teaching Middle School Chorus and found my niche.  I LOVE middle schoolers.  I get them.  They get me.  I can give them my "tough love" and they love it.


Shawna said... parents used to ask me "should we cut it off?" too!

I'm a pretty big softie with my kids, but my husband is a lot like you. There usually has to be some blood before his feathers get ruffled!