Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Parent Enabling to the Max

After a lab today with my senior advanced level biology students, I noticed that the supplies had been left out and unwashed. I stopped and said to the group, "Let me guess: You don't have to clean up after yourselves at home." Grinning sheepishly, they hurried over to wash the equipment and put away the specimens. For some of them it is their mothers who hover and run errands, for others it is the maid who is paid to tidy up after them. I then related a story of the most spoiled student I ever had, who, on a field trip to Chicago asked me to cut her meat because even at age 16, her father had always done it for her. Upon relating this, I noted that no one in my group of 17-year olds found it remotely as amazing as I had. In fact, one girl smiled and said, "My parents still do that for me."

"Actually, my mom feeds me while I'm working."
"What do you mean?"
"Well," she said, "If I'm working on my computer, my mom will feed me."
I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"Let me get this straight," I said. "You are allowed to have the computer at the dinner table?"
"Well, yeah," she said as if I were daft. "If I have homework."
"And," I continued, "Your mother spoon feeds you?"
Nodding, she said, "My mom's awesome!"

I now have a new candidate for most spoiled teen, as well as most protective mother. It isn't unusual for Thais to feed their children until they are well into elementary school, often the maid acting as surrogate slave. But, I've never heard of anyone actually feeding their nearly adult child.

I think I've really made some strides by having these kids wash a beaker.
But I'm not going to feed any of them.

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