My oldest daughter doesn’t want to take Spanish next year.
I want her to take Spanish next year. It’s an elective only offered to eighth graders, it’s free, it’s available. To my mommy mind, it makes sense.
I explained the benefits of having a full year of Spanish completed before high school. She’ll be a year ahead. Spanish is the wisest language to learn in today’s world and especially in our part of the country.
These arguments failed to convince her, so I trotted out a seemingly innocuous observation about her friends. They are probably taking Spanish, right? I felt terrible hijacking peer pressure this way. Normally, I decry peer pressure but when it’s time to sign up for next year’s electives? Shame-less.
She claimed no, they aren’t. They all decided to take sculpture.
I pictured a lonely, dejected Spanish teacher and an incredibly overwhelmed art teacher saying mon dieu!
So rather than learning an important, marketable, socially-conscious life skill, you want to make vases and clay animals? I asked.
Big sighs from me. I flipped through the packet of classes and noted she had to choose by the next day. Tomorrow. Always too soon, so soon, and how did this happen? Weren’t you just born?
How did we get to this point where a Spanish vs. Clay Elephants debate is just a part of a weekday morning?
I could have insisted she take Spanish much like I insist she eat breakfast every day or complete her chores. You will! You will! I am the mother.
I didn’t. I decided to let this one go. There is time. She is far more interested in taking Chinese beginning in ninth grade. During two enrichment courses in previous years, she chose Chinese and learned some basics. She loved it.
Larger battles loom. There will be times when I will exercise my authority and absolutely insist on certain behaviors and decisions in the coming years. But I want her to know I can maintain perspective.
I want her to know I see her side.
I want her to know there will always be room on our shelves for hand-made clay figurines.