Thursday, May 19, 2011

Commencement Commentary

We are fast-approaching the end of our school year.  However, the kids and I both know that we never really "end" the school year.  I continue forcing them to practice math facts, read daily and learn about stuff as opportunities present themselves all summer long.  I'm mean like that.  Believe me, we tried taking a whole summer off one year (the one when we moved from New England to New Mexico), and everyone forgot a bunch of stuff so that the first couple months were spent just reviewing.  No fun.  So it's worth it for us to keep up with the basics year-round.

Anyway, at the end of each school year -- that is, to say, at the time of year when public school kids are finishing up for the summer break and are being promoted to the next grade -- I try to put together a questionnaire of sorts for our kids.  Usually, I include questions about their favorite projects and what they learned about their faith and themselves during the year as well as places for them to complain about their least favorite things (this space is usually very, very small).

But this year, with the help of some online suggestions, I created a questionnaire that wasn't specifically about school, but was more of a general opportunity for discussion and critical thinking.  It went well and the kids offered some good insight into who they are and what they know about the world and life, etc.

I thought about the best way to share some of my favorite responses without boring you with twenty answers from each of our five kids, so instead I'll share just the best (i.e., funniest) ones for each question.  For your reference and so I don't have to type it over and over, S is a nearly 16-year-old girl (promoting to 11th), H is an 11-year-old boy (promoting to 6th), Z is a 9-year-old boy (promoting to 4th), J is a 6-year-old girl (promoting to 2nd) and O is a 6-year-old boy (promoting to 1st).

1. At what age is a person an adult?  Why do you think so?
A person is an adult at age 21.  If they can drink then they should be responsible.  Therefore, needing to be an adult. - S

2. If you could change one rule that your family has, what would you change?
I would change the boundaries (for where I can ride my bike). - O
It would be having fun.  I want to have fun all the time. - J

3.  What is something that makes your family special?
What makes us special is our size and our faith. - H

4. Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
Learning how to take care of kids will be useful.  That's it.  And letting them have soda all the time. - J
The things I'm learning about how to treat family (P.S. future) and how to be a man are very important. - Z

5. Are you a good friend?  Why do you think this?
Yes, I don't know why.  I just am. - J
To some standard I think I am, but in other ways, I don't.  I am encouraging and friendly and kind.  But sometimes I don't feel like I am.  It just all depends... - S

6. How would the world be different if animals could talk?
I think that if animals could talk, people might treat them differently and we could maybe work together to make the world better.  It's all about communication. - S
I think it would be a little scary, good and annoying. - Z

7. Would you cheat on a test if you knew you would not get caught?  Why or why not?
No, because it's wrong and it would be against God's rules. - H
No, because I don't want to get hurt from other players in sports or vampires. - O

8. If you could grow up to be famous, for what would you want to be famous?
For my faith and preaching about God. - H

9. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I would sneak into a jail and unlock my friend.  - J
I would scare H for once!! - Z

10.  What is the best gift you have ever given?  Why was it so special?
The bunny I gave because my Tia was sad. - Z
The best gift I have ever given is kindness.  I am kind to others and make them feel welcomed.  Sooner or later, we become friends, or closer as a family. - S

11. What is the hardest thing about being a kid?
Because you do chores and work and school and college and boring stuff like reading. - O
I can't have my own dog. - Z

12. If you were a teacher and the kids in your class would not listen to you, what would you do?
Put them in time out in all the corners.  And I wouldn't feed them anything! - J

13. Where is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place is home. - Z
My favorite place will be heaven. - H

 14. If you could give one gift to every single child in the world, what gift would you give?
A basketball ... no ... a hot dog. - O
Food, because the poor people at the place ... you know? - J
I would want to give every kid a house and a family.  For them to have peace and be safe and fed.  For them to be loved would be my gift. - S

15. If you could travel back in time three years and give yourself advice, what would it be?
If I could travel back three years, I would tell myself not to text anyone Mom and Dad don't know and not to go online and chat to dangerous and total strangers. - S
I would tell myself not to run away. - H
"Let's go in my room and play together!" - J

16. What five words do you think most describe you?
S - caring, silly, needy, helpful, social
H - creative, artistic, ignorant, funny, smart
Z - athletic, likable, brown, young, fast
J - shy, have lots of toys, dog-owner, want to go around the world, I like flowers
O - tall ("I'm 6 inches!"), long, strong, mighty, smart

17. If you could invent something that would make life easier for people, what would you invent?
A cookie that would walk itself to the ants' home.  The ants will gobble it up! - J
Life is easy! - Z

18.  When was a time that you felt really blessed?
When Ma and Pa decided to adopt us. - H (that's H being H ... he really doesn't call us Ma and Pa)

19. What do you think would be the hardest thing about being blind?
To walk places or drive. - J
You can't see anything ... even water! - O

20. If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what rule would you make?
To not go out of their boundaries so they be safe from fast cars.  Ask their parents to go outside. - O
Go to Disneyland 16 times ... I mean, 100 times!  Because it's the happiest place on earth.  I'll make them ride roller coasters there. - J
No guns allowed. - Z
Create something creative once a week, to show your creative spark! - H
For everyone to be kind and loving to each other, but like as a friend! - S


  1. Ha! Some of these cracked me up so much! A hot dog! Disneyland! I think O's and J's answers were the most hilarious.

  2. Reading these a bit late, but LOVE them! I might have to use your questions on my own crew and share the best answers with you! :)