Sunday, September 11, 2011

Barbie's lesson in work ethic

Throughout the summer, I took my kids to the library once a week. Each time, we would take out a couple books from the school's suggested summer reading list and by the middle of August at 3-5 books per week, we made it through the whole list and had a great time. If we liked some of the books, we kept them for a couple weeks and if we didn't (or I didn't) I would return them after a week.

In addition to the books, I let each kid take out one movie from the library. Gabby would 95% of the time pick a barbie princess movie which 80% of the time would be scratched and skip at some point during the course of the movie. It became an expected reality and when the TV would freeze with barbie in mid speech, I would hear a choir from the two of them saying,  "Mommy! it's skipping again!" and I would take that opportunity to remind them of the importance of taking care of your things and being careful with DVDs.

Gabby seemed to take this scratch/skip scenario as a natural phenomenon and week after week she still would pick another barbie movie even if I warned her it may skip. One time, Tom cleaned one off with disc cleaners and tried everything and it still skipped. One disc was even literally cracked!

So as Gabby started school this year, I told her she was being such a brave big girl to go to her new school. She was admittedly nervous about getting on the bus and I had a fear that I would be one of those mothers pushing a crying kid onto the bus, so I told her if she got on the bus, then I would buy her a barbie movie. (I actually already bought the movie, intending to instantly gratify her if she rode the bus. It was a pure bribe)
The first day when she got off the bus, she reminded me of my movie offer and I cracked it open and loaded it up. She looked at it and said, "I can kiss it right? because it has no germs?" I told her she could kiss it and it was ours and hadn't been touched by every other 2-7 year old child in our town. She also looked at it like it was a shiny diamond ring and said, "Oohh, its not scratched!" and I took that as my teaching opportunity and said that when we work hard we can afford to buy a movie and keep it all to ourselves and take care of it so it will never get scratched.

But that is one of those lessons that can only be absorbed after months of borrowing scratched, cracked and germy barbie princess movies from the town library. After that, the clean, non-grubby, unmarked disc of a brand new movie can teach you the value of good work ethic. I guess barbie is a bit deeper than I thought!

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