Thursday, February 5, 2009

Yes You Can, Andre!

One thing I've come to notice about Andre is that he lacks tenacity and that's not a good thing. When he's unable to do a piece of homework or encounters difficulties, he quickly gets frustrated and gives up. That annoys me because he convinces himself that he can't do it and I often have to spend time calming him down or prep-talking him just so I can get him to re-focus on the problem.

I'm not sure if this has anything to do with being the last born, where he has always had his older sister to pave the way for him. Although he fights with Lesley-Anne on a regular basis, I know deep down, he enjoys having an older sister. During his birthday party, I overheard him telling some of his friends, "My sister is in p5" with great pride, for no other reason than that she's three whole years older than any of them.

I didn't realise just how much he has come to rely on her until yesterday. He brought home a list of words which were scrambled. Each group of letters, when unscrambled, would reveal a word. He had solved the first three but couldn't do the last two. Apparently, his classmate had the same problem and gave him a call. I was by the phone when he called and was not very pleased to hear Andre say: "I haven't done it because my sister is not home yet."

As you can imagine, after that phonecall, I launched into a "What-do-you-mean-your-sister-is-not-home-you-can't-do-your-homework? Why-does-she-have-to-do-your-homework-for-you?" lecture. It turned out he didn't think he was doing anything wrong because it wasn't "homework" homework, it was a fun exercise given by his teacher. Besides, he had tried and couldn't do it. (By trying, he meant that he had stared at the letters for a good 10 seconds and no word magically formed in his head.)

I told him that he had to put in more effort and not give up, which led to me taking out the Scrabble board and making him slowly try to rearrange the given letters in the first word (wow, it's exactly like trying to form a bingo in Scrabble!) I had to grit my teeth through a discordant 5 minutes of wailing "I don't know! I can't do it!" before he suddenly grinned and told me he'd solved it - CINEMA.

The second one, it turned out he'd copied one of the letters wrong. Aiyoh, copy also cannot copy right. I knew as much at one glance. Come on - EIICGLL? I told him so but he wouldn't believe me and we went into another Battle of the Stubborn People. ("It's wrong!" "No, it's not!" "You copied wrong!" "No, I didn't!" Stamping of feet.) In the end, he agreed to call his friend and later told me sheepishly "It's not L, it's N. The answer is CEILING."

I don't know if this episode has taught him a lesson about perseverance but I think I'll have to be more conscious about encouraging him not to give up so easily. (Maybe I'll emblazon Obama's slogan on his forehead, "Yes We Can!") Afterall, it is one of the most valuable human traits - to remain resolute and to persist in the face of adversity.


Lilian said...

No need to look to the US lah, just look up north to "Malaysia Boleh", the slogan used that led to the the Malaysian badminton Thomas Cup win some years ago. Andre BOLEH!

monlim said...

Boleh? Andre will say, "Hah? what's that? Do I have to rearrange the letters?" :P

Alcovelet said...

Love the pic, Mon!

Andre obviously can one lah!

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