Saturday, March 13, 2010

Yo Contest

A few months back, students in Franklin's middle class (third year out of four in kindergarten) were asked if they wanted to take part in a special event in the springtime. Taiwanese parents love to show off their kids' special abilities in public and a Saturday morning demonstration of Tang Era poetry recitin' is just the thing that brings the helicopter moms in for a landing.

At first, there were no dice, according to the teacher. The spots, it seemed, filled up mighty quick and Frank would have to wait until next speech season to give face to his parents.

Which was fine with me, to be honest. I never saw the point in having kindergarteners memorize TWENTY poems only to recite two on a stage under the harsh spotlight of public opinion. Even Franklin was heard to mutter, "What do these words even mean?" The only purpose I can theorize is that it prepares kids for an academic career punctuated with arbitrary memorization assignments and little in the way of useful context lasting into the Twenties.

As luck would have it, a space opened up within hours of the initial rejection and Frank found himself on his way to Glory armed with a CD of kiddie music and a book to go along with it.

So he listened and read and sang along and we figured he was going to be a hit. When it was time to go back to the US, the teacher asked if our five-year-old boy would take back a stack of poems back to memorize. On Vacation. Now, my exact words were neither recorded nor passed along, exactly, but the sentiment reached the school and Frank had an ideal amount of free time on vacation.

The whole thing went off today, though I was not there due to a scheduling conflict. If I had gone I would have tweeted the while thing. There was plenty of material there with all the show biz moms having painted butterflies on their daughter's faces and the stringent choreography of the whole thing.

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