Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the case of the missing violin

I was faced with yet another parenting dilemma in the seemingly endless choices and value judgements I make every day. Life is full of decisions, whether you have a child or not, but for me the stakes are always higher when the issue at hand concerns the kid.

Case in point: We forgot her violin today and didn't realize it until we were already halfway to school. It was too late to turn back and go home to retrieve it, as she would then get a tardy.

The dilemma: The strings class isn't until the afternoon, but the teacher has plenty of instruments that kids can borrow for situations just like this, which probably occur on a daily basis.

The choice: I could go home, get the violin and drop it off for her, maintaining my supermom status in her eyes, and saving her the embarrassment of having to tell her teacher she would need to borrow a class violin as she forgot hers. Or... I could let this be a lesson to us both, and she could use the class violin. We would not forget it again in future, I'm sure.

I opted for the second choice and my daughter was none too pleased. I knew it would be the unpopular one. It's also the path of least resistance (for me) and most (for her). It's not strictly the nicest choice. But I'm pretty sure it's the right one. I told her not to fret, we all make mistakes, her teacher would understand, and this way we will both be sure to never leave the house without it again on strings day.

It's so hard making choices that you know your kids won't like. The choice I made isn't exactly a punishment, but it felt a bit like one after I dropped her off. Hence this post. But I think eight is a good age to start to learn responsibility. If mommy sweeps away all the problems, no matter how small, all the time, how will she learn to deal with difficult situations?

Sorry, kid. I wish I could have done what you wanted. I know you're unhappy, but I think this was the right choice. Of course if the school didn't already have the extra instruments, I would have found a way to get her the violin. It should be noted that last time this happened I did play the hero and brought her the violin before the class started, so no one was the wiser. Such a silly little problem, with so many possible choices and outcomes.
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