I’ll Have Mine With a Side of Tolerance, Thanks

No, I’m not talking about racism or discrimination here in Japan. Those are topics I can’t handle in 500 words or less.

But let me back up a bit. Last week, I had a parent teacher conference with Me Too’s teacher. This used to be a 家庭訪問 where the teachers came to your house, but it seems the preschool finally got the drift that all the parents hate this. Back when Brother was in kindy I spent the whole day cleaning and preparing tea and crap, which of course the teacher didn’t touch. Sister chose that particular ten minutes one particular year to have the most fabulous exploded diaper ever, and I spent the whole visit literally covered in sh!t.

Great memories.

Anyway, we rock up to the school for the conference. I didn’t have much to say, mainly just to call me if the asthma gets out of hand and to ask the teacher if the kids have a water break. She hadn’t thought of that, apparently. Teacher had just assumed the kids would have a drink when they got thirsty.


Me Too has been coming home parched because she’s the type of kid who will assume that something is not allowed unless you tell her otherwise.

At this point, the teacher drops the bomb: Sister has yet to speak one word in class. To anyone.


I thought she’d outgrown this, or at worst she was only doing it to get attention when I was around.

Brother is a big loudmouth. He always tells the crossing guards and stuff “Good morning!” in a loud, genki way, and he’s become kind of famous in the neighborhood for it. So it stands to reason that Sister would never do such a thing, in an effort to differentiate herself from him. Cause that’s just what siblings do, right? It’s not just me and mine, right?

I haven’t been too overly concerned about this shyness thing, but lately I can see that she’s letting it hold her back from things she really wants to do.

And that is where I’d like some tolerance. Maybe it’s a Japan thing, maybe it’s a worldwide phenomenon but why are adults so untolerant of children’s temperments? The energetic kid is a trouble maker, the precocious one is a smart ass, the shy one is a wallflower who needs to snap out of it. It doesn’t matter if they are mature or emotionally ready, all children must start school at the same time and go for the same amount of hours. Oh, and we won’t give you any choice about what schools they go to unless you’re rich and can pay to be catered to.

At elementary this doesn’t bother me as much. Educating all of the children in the country is a huge task and doing what’s best for each individual child would be next to impossible. But for the 3-6 age group? Let’s at least shoot for it. No one expects all adults to be the same. Kids deserve the same respect, don’t they?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jane
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 17:27:08

    Amen!! I was the biggest smart-ass, know-it-all, talk-back you’d ever met as a little girl so I got packed off to kindergarten early. But my brother was a shy, polite, Never break the rules, angel of a boy who was scared of school so my parents waited a year in sending him. We both excelled in school and went to uni. I also get frustrated with the lack of flexibility in when kids start here and how April is the magical month where everybody magically becomes ready for the next level up. All kids grow-up differently.


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