I think it is a lovely idea. For one thing, our area is given to horrible health issues, mostly related to obesity and lack of education. This is inspiring the kids in our community to meet those challenges head on. I LOVES IT. When my son brought home the form, I basically told him that I was signing him up. Sam is a great reader (and reads for more than 26 minutes each day on his own), but we could all use a little help in outdoor activities. He seemed excited, and didn't really fight me on it at all. I was a little surprised by this, to be honest.
Then I got the great idea to do it as a family. As a group, we have let the fast pace of life, as well as the presence of the TV and internet get between us and reading as much as we should or could. And then there is exercise.... As I have related before, I do great during spring and summer with exercising. Winter notsomuch. So I need something to inspire me back into good habits. The kids and Matt do as well. After confirming with the husband, I made the executive decision that we would all participate together. I even thought of making our own incentives for good work and making a family challenge to read the most pages/walk the most miles. Seriously. When my mind latches onto something like this, I'm like one of those snapping turtles that you have to wait until it thunders for it to pull loose.
Gabby, however, was not similarly excited. She immediately told me that she had lost the form so I wouldn't be able to sign her up. I asked her to get one at school the next day. Sensing there was another excuse where the other had come from, I called the school and asked them to make sure she got an extra form sent up to her. She was not happy about that. I tried several times to get her to tell me why she didn't want to participate, and the most I could get from her was that her friends weren't doing it and that she "just didn't want to." I explained that we all needed the exercise, and that she, especially, had let a love for technology come between her and reading. I played the college card, telling her that reading now is her best bet at getting into and enjoying college (seriously, as a former test prep person, the only guaranteed way to get a higher verbal SAT score is to develop a love and taste for reading early on). She still abjectly refused to do it. She then said she didn't want to do it because she didn't want to get the free t-shirt because "they never fit right" and she didn't want to wear something like that. I listened to this, but told her it wasn't like I was asking her to wear it everyday, and that she could just put it in her drawer with the t's that she sleeps in.
Finally, she came up with this compromise, where if I didn't sign her up through the school, she would do the program, but not participate in the 5K. I briefly considered this, but decided against it. Her attitude was pretty bad about the whole thing, even going so far as to insult her brother and talking about how stupid the whole thing was. I didn't want a compromise to seem like an acceptance of that behavior.
So I signed the form and positively dared her not to turn it in. And this morning, I made her deliver Sam to the gym so that he could participate in the first pre-school walking work-out. I told her that she didn't have to walk herself, but that she would have to at least make sure Sam got there ok. She, of course, responded by not speaking to me on the way to school, calling me "mean," and slamming the car door in my face.
You know, I was a holy terror when I was her age. I remember yelling at my mom that I wanted to live with my dad, telling her that she was mean and stupid and OH MY GOD ARE YOU FOR REAL?!?! She got so used to it that when I pulled the dad card, she would just look at me straight in the eye and tell me go to pack my bag, that she would wait until he was home from work and call and see when he could pick me up. One time she dialed the number before I told her to stop and sulked off to my room to listen to Prodigy and plot my escape through any OTHER means. So I get it. I really do. Hormones are racing and things are weird and you have to deal with mean girls and first periods and people who don't understand you, because at that age, no one does. I try to tell Gabby that I do get it, but that I can't let this stage in her life keep her or the rest of us from enjoying ourselves. And deep down, I think participating in this with us will be enjoyable. I am deluded enough to think that.
I read these things on the internet about parenting, and so many of them say something to the tune of, "If your kid doesn't hate you, you're not doing it right." I can see that argument. As a parent, you have to toe that line between dictator and friend, and it is only natural that at some points, you are going to fall well over into the dictator side of things. And that's ok. We all--not just kids--need that sometimes. I have to say, though, from my standpoint, it does suck when your kid is so mad at you that they won't even look your way, that they won't even make a comment on the stupid Selena Gomez song that just came on the radio (btw, have you ever seen the video for "I Love You Like A Lovesong"? Gabby and I watch this on YouTube just to laugh at it. That is, when she is speaking to me). You don't want that at all, and any parent that says they do, is lying.
I kinda dread going home today, to be really honest, and part of it has to do with getting Gabby to do anything with this program. I hope she'll be fine with it when I get there. If she's anything like her mom, though, she'll be good and sulky, really wallowing in it by the time I enter the scene and try to ply her with buffalo chicken.
Ah, parenting. Yes, Snooki, this is what you just got yourself into.