Monday, January 04, 2016

school revelation

By this time there are no more pretences. Nobody wants to go back to school. They have seen through it all. They moan and they groan.

In the lead-up to Monday, there really isn’t much to do.

I dump their school bags in the washing machine for a quick tumble, the new books are duly bought, old textbooks which be re-used are duly passed down (from Day to Jo and from Jo to Lu), and worksheets are removed from plastic files which they re-use every year. They slip their feet into the same grotty old shoes (thankfully still fitting) and head off at 7am.

When I pick them up, they make a complaint which is a revelation. I’ve never heard it before.

“All my friends have new school bags. When I told them I’ve been using mine since Primary 1, they couldn’t believe it!” (Jo)

“Ya. I think I’ve been using this bag since P2 and my friends always change their bags. But that’s OK. I don’t mind.” (Day)

“I have a friend who uses a different bag every day!” (Jo)

“My friend’s shoes are nice and new and white. But mine are so dirty and black! Mama! Can we please wash this?” (Lu)

“Why do I have to recycle my files? My friends all get new files.” (Jo, as she carefully applies correction tape on the side of the file to change the class)

They do have some new stuff, but all of it was Christmas gifts. If it isn't broke beyond repair, I wouldn't buy them new things.

And who are these people? Are there actually people around who change their children’s bags / stationary / pencil cases / files / water bottles / shoes / uniforms every YEAR?

That’s NUTS! What do they do with the old stuff??


Anonymous said...

You can tell Jo.. "KF Jun is using your Papa's old NeilPryde hat, and as far as I can rememeber, its at least 15-16years old now"
You cant buy sentiments that come with new stuff. Jun

Sher said...

they dont have to look beyond their mother and 2 uncles for this kind of inspiration..

Grace said...

Hi, I've been reading your blog since Jo was a toddler and I love the way you write. Would it be okay if I were to buy your kids some new school stationery and files? I mean no disrespect. It's just that I remember being a child who so lovingly fawned over her new things at the beginning of each year. I dunno...having them just made me feel that the slate has been wiped clean and that this year is so gonna be the bestest year ever.
I'm all grown up now and while new stationery still pleases me, it doesn't evoke the same type of joy that it once did. Let me live vicariously through your kids by sending them new stuff!

Oh and in response to your question, I was one of those kids who got a whole new set of things at the start of each academic year. Or at least I did till I reached Pri 5 or so. We do exist. And as for what my parents did with the old batch...they threw them away. Haha! It was an awful waste but I wasn't a careful child and didn't take good care of my things so they really were too grotty to be recycled.

Sher said...

oh man grace, i think your comment is the best comment i hv ever gotten!!!

ur really kind and so sweet, and thank you so much for offering to send them new stuff!!

however, its not so much tt we cant afford the files / stationary... its just certain values which i want them to grow up with, like knowing how to treasure and take care of their possessions, and not buy things for the sake of buying things.

perhaps in an older generation it wasn't so hard, and even if parents bought new stuff for their kids at the start of every school year they still turn out great (probably like u!).

i see young people around me (and some my age), who just keep recklessly buying and throwing with abandon. i could never do tt myself, and i dont want them to grow up being scary like that.

as it is, i think the trio are already very lucky. they just got a boatload of christmas presents, get to eat nice food all the time and are growing up as happy as can be.

they may be deprived of this one thing, but there are many other things which bring them joy!

Anonymous said...

Love the way you write! So humorous and yet meaningful! And I'm so glad you are not one of those bloggers who keep doing sponsored posts, cos it just makes the blog so commercialized. Keep writing! I check in everyday ;). LY

Lysithea said...

Don't worry. Your kids aren't the only ones using old stuffs! :) My boy in P5 is still using his school bag in P1 - that's why we bought him a good quality one. It's meant to last! They haven't outgrown their uniform and shoes so didn't get any, but I'll probably regret not buying the shoes since the sales is usually at the end of the year! As for stationery, we have so many pens and pencils and pencil cases ... They had new files though, cos I was too lazy to sort out the worksheets.

Waste not, want not ... There's just too much wastage in this world. And I certainly agree with teaching them to treasure their belongings!

I think my girl did mention that she has a classmate who carries a different bag everyday ... Both her comments and mine were like,'wow really!?' :)

Sher said...

thanks ly :)
frankly i'm amazed pp still read, or tt i still hv anything to write.

lysithea: yay! day's bag will last because kk bought it, and because he bought it, its a good expensive bag. and the girls' bags will last bec they bought it from jedpacks (hahaha tts an advertorial for a friend!)

Grace said...

Oh hey, I really wasn't implying that you can't afford to get your kids new things. I know the values you're trying to instill and I respect that. I really do.

I recently started teaching kindergartners and what you say is right. Many of them have no qualms about spoiling their things because they know that Mummy, or an indulgent grandparent, would replace them with something even bigger and better.

It's just that...okay, this is gonna sound silly...I've a birthday coming up (I'm getting so close to the late twenties. Meh.) and each year, I can't seem to justify spending on myself so I usually just get someone else a gift instead. It makes me just as happy to give people presents as it does when I receive one, so yeah...most of my birthday gifts to myself involves me buying presents for others. Haha I know it makes no sense.

Your kids may grumble about having to reuse their school supplies now but they're learning so much about careful ownership of their stuff, and about not taking things for granted. They're going to grow up awesome! :)

francesca said...

I know what you mean. I've been decluttering my house recently and I realised that I've been "living excessively" (that's the term I give myself). This year, I am going to just get rid of this bad habit and buy only when necessary. Kids complain. But I think it's for the "greater good" haha.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing and really thank you for not having commercial entries(is it almost extinct now?) It's so easy to give in to peer pressure to get new stuff for the kids but its really such a real wastage especially when there are many kids!

Mummy Ghin said...

Don't worry, sher! You are not alone! The only stuff we buy almost yearly are school shoes and it's just because their feet are expanding so quickly. I'm surprised how long your kids' shoes can last!

Dee.. said...

I think it is commendable that you live by that values. It is definitely easier for me to throw away and buy new ones (which means i spoilt my childreN) than live by the values not to be wasteful but be thankful. i remember having to use hand me downs from brother who was so untidy and dirty. It was absolutely sad and nothing to look forward to in the new year. So, I spoilt the children lot. guilty. However, I teach my older one to be thankful for the new things she has.

Lysithea said...

Still reading your blog! Don't stop writing! Although I don't comment often, it's always insightful and interesting to read what you have written :)

Actually my kids don't use a lot of handme downs, MOE is so smart they change the textbooks almost every 2-3 years ... grrr. I only made them reuse their own school bags and pencil cases. I tried making my girl wear her brother's old shoes last year and she was really upset about it. haha. Had to buy her new ones else she refused to go to school. Said something like so embarrassing having to wear BOY's shoes! She wore her brother's old PE T-shirt though, none the wiser ... :P

Sher said...

so odd, so many comments all of a sudden!

lysithea: thank u. ya the textbooks... seem to change quite often. cant pass down to anyone. i've never made them wear each other's shoes! cos the shoes are usually in such bad condition i hv to throw.

dee: i've been told tt people are just different. some like to buy new things, and others just use until its broken. so for all the values i try to instill (actually its just my nature), my kids may still end up being very different from me.

yiling: shoes, last abt a yr, mebbe 2!

grace: i think its great tt u give to others on your birthday! (i wouldnt, haha)

Dee.. said...

Wahahaha, they will end up the same when the money is out of their pocket! don't worry, you are sowing the seeds into them!