Friday, 11 April 2014

The school are holding a competition.  The worst kind, a crafty kind.  I send the little darlings to school to do all that messy creative stuff so that we don't have to do it at home all the time.  It only ever leads to mess and disappointment as like me The Spawn have grand ideas yet limited artistic ability.

The challenge?  To decorate a boiled egg for Easter.  Sounds frightfully simply, neh?

The Husband and Things One & Two had a failed attempt earlier in the week with childrens paint that resulted with grotesque looking drippy things akin to toddler nappy contents, you know the kind from after they've eaten all the crayons.

Fast forward to a last minute attempt last night , the night before it's due in, with some permanent markers.  In my defense I did try to dye them according to Google yet even that failed to work.

I provided them with an egg each and the pens and left them to it, afterall it is their project.  They did their best.  Although rather fond of craft, Thing Two prefers to do things spontaneously and not to order.  She likes to free think and not adhere to specifics.  Thing One is like me, poor sod, no patience and very little craft gene.  The Preschooler wanted in on the action despite the school Nursery not taking part so I helped him create his own too.

Then came this morning.  Evidently some parents have some difficulty with understanding that this is a competition for the children.  Their competitive nature took over and a glance around the playground showed some efforts worthy of Pinterest.  You look at these epic creations, picture perfect, not a single visible drip or brush stroke.  Everything is highly defined, unnaturally neat and damn near perfect.  It doesn't stop there, they have to go the whole hog and create whole islands and tanks and what have you to display them in.  Fair play you think, then you look at their child.  There is no way that snot nosed, disinterested little child went anywhere near that entry.  You see the hungry look of competitiveness in their parents eyes as they painstakingly cradle these creations that you just know, they made.  Yes, the parents. Their children have absolutely no interest in them, why should they?  They didn't make them! Cheats! Cheats! Cheats!

It's not just the lack of fairness that perturbs me, it's more so the message they're sending to their children. That it's all about the winning.  They have eradicated the taking part.  This should have been a fun activity for the children to do themselves.  Nobody was expecting anything to remotely resemble it's apparent theme, it should have been a mass of dribbly, speckled blobs that are the childrens vision, their pride and joy.  They've stolen the taking part from them.  It's become a lesson in fierce perfection rather than an expression of creativity.

Don't get me wrong,  I never for a moment expect Thing One or Thing Two to win, but it would be nice if an imperfect, genuine entry won.  Something a child did with minimal supervision and interference.  One of the lopsided ones you have to squint at to figure out what it's supposed to be.  One of the ones where you can almost picture the child, tongue firmly poking out in concentration, as a paint brush overloaded with poster paint redecorates the kitchen as well as the egg.  One made with love and determination.  One made with the notion of making something coming first and the idea of winning an afterthought.

Thing Two got a silver star the other day for randomly commenting to a teacher that she doesn't so much care about winning things, she just likes taking part and knowing she's tried.

It would appear some of the parents could do with understanding that.

I'm a firm believer that activities like this should be done in school time, among their peers under the supervision of teachers with zero interference from parents.  This has nothing at all to do with my general allergy to childrens crafts, honest.


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