My sisters and I have an ongoing group chat and more often than not the texts are about our mother: what she said this time, what she wants one of us do, what she doesn’t want us to do anymore. Don’t get me wrong, we love our mom. She’s one of the strongest, smartest women any of us know. And even when we think she’s saying or doing things that don’t make sense, she’s usually right, but not always.
Both of my sisters live in Northern California, while my parents and I live in Southern California. This week my parents are up north for a visit, and last night this text came in:
Theo and Izzy are both just three years old. When I ask them to read me a book, they don’t say, “No, I can’t read yet.” They go run to look for their current favorite book. If I ask them to write something, they start looking around for paper and pens. They already identify as readers and writers. When I saw my sisters’ texts I was filled with dread. Would my mom’s well-meaning actions strip them of their confidence? How can I tell my mom that these worksheets aren’t helpful? Yes, I have over two decades (almost 30!) years of experience as an educator. I have two education-related masters degrees. (Well, that turned out to be more of a brag than I intended.) But she raised three successful daughters.
In just a few days, my mom and dad will say their goodbyes to the little ones and head down the 5 freeway back home. I’ll mull over how to tackle this until then. In the meantime, if you have any advice for a daughter who was brought up under the Confucian principle of “filial piety” feel free to send it my way.