In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 24, 2006 / 3 Kislev, 5767

The apple doesn't fall far from the (talkative) tree

By Marybeth Hicks

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When I think about it, the number of conferences I have attended with individual teachers since 1992 is roughly 254, but that's just a guess.

Conferences started in preschool, where I sat in tiny chairs and looked at self-portraits and macaroni art and handprint pictures as a way to gauge the growth of my new learners.

Next thing I knew, I was wandering the halls of the middle school, meeting with teachers in each subject to find out how my daughters were doing in pre-algebra, literature and music. Later this school year, when I have done the last round of conferences for my eldest daughter, a high school senior, I will have met with teachers more than 100 times to talk about Katie's schoolwork, and that's just one child.

Just what have I learned in all of these sessions?

Mostly that my children like to talk.

Of course, the high school teachers report this as a positive thing — meaning, my daughters participate in class discussions and are otherwise polite and conversational.

I expect this week the middle school teachers will report this fact about Jimmy with varying degrees of patience. My son doesn't talk incessantly (as he used to do) but he still is sometimes more loquacious than the classroom atmosphere warrants.

The fourth-grade teachers will simply tell me that my daughter Amy talks too much — all day, to anyone who will listen and even to people who don't listen. She is a chatterbox.

It's quaint, really, the way teachers report this trait to me. They seem to hedge at first — not sure how I'll take the news that my child is inappropriately communicative — but out of sheer frustration, they have to tell me the truth. How else can I help foster self-discipline with threats such as "Stop talking in class or I'll give you something to talk about"?

What cracks me up is that every teacher breaks it to me as if this is news to me — as if I am not the woman transporting my child around town with a constant stream of conversation emitting from over my right shoulder — as if I am unaware that in my home, no thought goes unexpressed.

When you have children who talk too much, you definitely know it.

I know what's going to happen at the conference. Amy's teacher will say something charitable but honest, such as, "Amy's socializing is a bit distracting," and I'll feel sheepish.

OK, sheepish is the wrong word. Embarrassed — that's a better word.

This won't be the first time I've heard this, of course, so I know that a child who talks too much and all the time probably is saying things that compromise the family's privacy, if not our dignity.

So I'll do what any mother would do when feeling embarrassed about her daughter's verbosity. I'll talk too much and too fast about why she's inappropriately chatty.

Inside a minute, I'll realize I'm demonstrating the whole apple-not-falling-far-from-the-tree thing, leaving me nothing to do but admit that talking is just something we do in our family and, oh, by the way, how's she doing in math?

I know parent-teacher conferences are supposed to focus on a child's classroom experience and overall development, but for some reason, I always feel they're performance evaluations for parenting.

If a teacher says my child seems tired, I worry I'm not getting the job done at bedtime.

If she points to a homework assignment that's less than stellar, I check the date and then explain the extenuating circumstances that prevented me from doing a better job of supervising.

If there's a comment about poor handwriting, I assume I'm not holding up the standard for neat work.

Defensive? Who, me?

Yes and no.

Yes, I admit I would prefer to look good in the eyes of my children's teachers, or at least, I would like to not appear to be asleep at the switch. (And it's not that I'm asleep — it's just that there are so many switches at my house — but who's defensive?)

And no, because I'm not defensive so much as I am anxious to put my children in context so their teachers can get to know them a bit better and, in this way, appreciate them a little more.

Of course, when a child talks about everything she's thinking, feeling and experiencing as it happens, you get pretty familiar with each other. But my goal is to convey more than the running commentary you hear from a 9-year-old who can't help but tell you what she had for dinner last night, how her dog looks with a new haircut and why her sisters got in a fight before school.

Sometimes my conferences focus on social skills, sometimes on work habits, or perhaps I share an observation about a new interest or a stumbling block to learning. Every child is different, so having four means I have to think carefully about what each one needs to be successful.

Then again, every so often a teacher tells me something I don't already know about one of my children, so conferences can be enlightening. Unbelievable as it is, there are things they occasionally forget to mention from the back seat of the van.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 19 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2006, Marybeth Hicks