NANAY SAYS: A time for everything

By: Cris Evert B. Lato-Ruffolo February 16,2019 - 07:11 AM

Children learn even the bad stuff in school.

Nicholas, 5, came home one day with an aggressive look on his face.

“Mom, I want a toy car. If you do not buy me toy, I will punch you,” he said and then ran away laughing to get bread and jam from the fridge.

I was stunned.

Then the feeling of anger swept over me.

Where did my five-year-old learn the word “punch?” We are not boxing aficionados. We never uttered the word at home. Worse was the usage of the word to demand something, a toy, from me.

My son actually threatened me — and he was laughing!

It was so uncharacteristically Nicholas that I decided to investigate.

Instead of letting my emotions overcome reason, I calmly asked Nicholas to sit with me.

I later learned that he has three playmates in school. He called them his best friends. For the purpose of this column, let us call them “A, B, and C.”

Nicholas told me so many stories. From what I gathered, Playmate A watches the fights of Manny Pacquiao in a CD with his father and uncle. “Playmate A said the men punch each other on the face and they have blood and samad (wound) after,” Nicholas went on.

Nicholas demonstrated how Playmate B screamed and threw a gigantic tantrum in front of his Mommy so he can get the toy that he wanted.

Playmate C laughed it off.

I further investigated and sought the help of our trusted Ate Joy so I get all the facts straight.

Ate Joy confirmed the details Nicholas shared with me. She also witnessed how  Playmate C kicked his grandmother, shouted and cursed her because he did not get what he wanted.

Nicholas is learning all these bad manners from his friends. My initial reaction was to pull out my child from the school. But his siblings, most especially his twin sister, Antoinette, is doing so well in the same class that the teacher even called her one of the best pupils. There must be something that can be done. I cannot just remove my child from every school when he is starting to exhibit bad manners. It is my responsibility to help him distinguish right from wrong.

The sassy Antoinette, who reports to us what went on in class, told us that “Nick is with the wrong friends.”

Take a moment to consider this, dear parents. My son is five years old and he is already surrounded with boys his age who know what to do to get what they want. This would have been okay if it did not involve violent words and actions.

My son refused to listen to the teacher. He does not sit on his chair; he does not write. Antoinette said he just runs around and plays with the three best friends, which upsets the teacher.

My husband and I knew we had to do something about it. To be honest, we have yet to see what comes out of this. But our strategy, so far, is to talk to Nicholas calmly with love. We start off by telling him how much we love him and that we respect his need for play.

But there is a time for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 puts it so well.

“To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; A time of war, and a time of peace”

I am five years into motherhood.

Some aspects got easier — especially the fact that I can sleep through the whole night without being awakened by sore breasts and wailing babies — but the challenge to be a positive influence to my children gets more difficult each day.

I wish I could shield my children from the bad words and violent actions that they learn from other children. But they go out of our home’s door at 6:30 a.m. five days a week and they face their own battles; their young minds molded by what they hear, see and experience.

Our job is to sound like a broken record; to constantly repeat our pieces of advice and reminders to them.

But here is my request to parents, please do not let your children sit with their tabs, electronic gadgets or the television set without your supervision. They can learn bad behavior from them. Also know that there are shows that you watch that your five-year-old should not be watching with you. A boxing match is one of them.

I am taking a large dose of self-control to prevent myself from storming to the school and confront the guardians/parents of these children. But I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 once again.

Next week is the time.

I am going to talk to the teacher and request for an audience with the parents.

Children bring to school what they learn from home.

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