I know you didn’t miss this, but the kids started Pre-K 3 at big kid school a couple of weeks ago. It’s been an adjustment for everyone, momma included. Five days a week. Oh I’ve really questioned in the past few days whether I jumped into that choice too soon. I have weekly questioned the teacher about an assortment of reports I’ve gotten from the kids including lunch mix-ups and playground bullies. I should know by now though that every three year old story has a back story. However, it’s the innocuous show-and-tell that has me most bothered.
What started the conversation was the youngest’s comment that, “no one clapped for me at show and tell mommy.” Well, I nearly passed out from the heartbreak. He said it so sadly. While the other two said the children clapped for them, I later found out from the teacher (because you KNOW this momma bear fired off an email that night!) that the class doesn’t applaud the children that stand up to share during show and tell. (Maybe they SHOULD!)
However, after we got that cleared up, albeit not perfectly, the boys went on to share that one of the boys showed a really cool big truck that drove around and made noises. At least that’s what I could glean from their retelling – one of the boys had a fancy toy. Fancier than our toys. We brought basic toys to show and tell. One child took a car, one took a truck and a toy cow, and little bit took her baby doll. No sound effects. Nothing electronic. Probably nothing much different that you’d see in a 1960s show and tell. Their favorite toys.
But what do you do when everyone is not taking baby dolls and push trucks but iPads and remote controls? One of my girlfriends says it’s just part of being in school today and that I’ll get used to it and shouldn’t worry too much about it and, in fact, that it only gets worse as the kids get a little older.
Then it hit me. We’re going to lose this. We’re going to see the ugly green monster soon. All this time of avoiding dramatic materialism by limiting television and not seeing commercials and buying simple toys at birthdays and Christmases is going to evaporate with a year of Pre-K 3 show and tell.
Show and tell is a lovely idea. It allows the children to share with one another and get to know each other’s interests. It teaches the children to be comfortable with public speaking early on in their life. I’m not the show-and-tell Scrooge. Well, not entirely. But what do we do about this, moms? Is there something we can do?
I mean, of course, we’re teaching our children what is true and real and meaningful in our daily lives and our faith. That’s a little intangible at three years old, though, don’t you think? How do we explain that it is NOT about which kids has the fanciest toy at show and tell? How do we instill in them early that even if the kid with the fanciest toys makes more friends that is still not the benchmark of success or goodness or value?
I don’t offer what we do – I ask. Our family highlights how fortunate we are that we even have toys and a house to put them in since so many children do not have such blessings. In fact, we share, some children don’t even have food for dinner at night. We acknowledge how grateful we are for the family and friends and material blessings God has entrusted us with during our bedtime prayers every night.
I also realize that peer pressure, even in preschool, is a real thing. We’ve already had the conversation in two weeks about a mean bully, a kid with more than them, and a girl who no longer wanted to be friends. It’s time for me to bone up on how to combat these real heartbreaks, confrontations, and temptations that my kids are about to be faced with for the rest of their lives. And no amount of crying over loss of innocence will adequately prepare me, or them. So how do we teach it’s not about who has the best show and tell? And if it’s our kid that has the “good” show and tell, how do we teach that everyone’s offering is a treasure in their eyes and should be treated as such? Because it’s always going to be a show and tell from here on out. Unless we change things.