Sunday, November 18, 2012

How the Public School System has served Annie a little too well.

It seems these days that many people complain or comment on the sad state of our public school system as a whole.  So I am writing this blog to show how well our local public school has served Annie in her quest to get what she wants. 
Over the years our kids have asked for a dog.  Neither Eric nor I are big dog lovers.  We personally would rather raise, clean up after, pay for, feed and care for children rather than dogs.  But every few years our kids start a "Can we please have a dog?" campaign.  We have historically been able to appease these requests by agreeing to a lower maintenance animal like a fish or hamster- which we have managed to kill all of.  For good evidence of this, read here.  Or by convincing our kids that the allowance, birthday and Christmas money they saved for over a year for a dog would be put to better use invested in an IPAD.  (True story- the last "Can we please have a dog?" campaign was about 2 years ago and Eric and I were able to talk Finn and Annie into using their money to buy their very own IPAD.  Much less poop to clean up after an IPAD.)
Well with the holiday season approaching, the latest "Can we please have a dog?" campaign is reaching a fevered pitch.  Last Wednesday Katie and Annie were doing something on the computer and every time Eric or I walked by they would get all nervous and cover up the computer screen while saying, "You can't see this."  When Eric got home from work on Thursday night it was revealed what the girls had been working on... A "Why We Should get a Dog" powerpoint.  After showing it to us, Annie asked, "Well what do you think?"  Eric answered, "Impressive presentation but the answer is still no."  And it really was impressive.  If I could figure out a way to display it on my blog I would. (Incidentally if anyone knows how to do that- please let me know!)  And  not only do I have no idea how to put a powerpoint on my blog, I also have no idea how to create a powerpoint at all.  My girls' knowledge of this skill can only be attributed to our awesome school computer-lab teacher, Mrs. Gritton.  In second grade Katie was making her own powerpoints!
Not to be deterred but Eric's no, Annie immediately excused herself from the room saying she needed to go write a letter.  The next morning I found an envelope addressed to "Mother and Father" on my nightstand containing the following letter: (Please note the letter was written in her best cursive)
"Dear Mother and Father,
My one and only desire for the holidays is a desirable little puppy.  I know you think it's ridiculous.  But if you actually take it seriously, it's actually a resonable plan.  I know you think he (meaning the dog) won't be happy but if we train him right he won't even have to stay in the laundry room (We had said the dog wouldn't be very happy with us because he would have to stay in the laundry room all day cause we wouldn't be home most of the day.  Two notes- In my and apparently Annie's mind all dogs are "he" and I know many working people have dogs that they leave all day but we are grasping at straws here as to why they can't have a dog.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.) Plus you could get us a dog over Christmas break so we would have time to train it.  You really should consider it and take it seriously.  I have worked really hard and I don't like it at all when you tease me about it.  All I ever hear is 'No we're not getting a dog!' It really makes me mad.  So I was just wondering if you would just actually think about it.  It would make me very happy ! (smiley face)
Annie (Smiley face, heart)"
Well the first thing I thought when I read this letter was "The public school's renewed emphasis on persuasive writing has really made a difference in Annie's writing."  At least in my kids' school district there has been a big push for writing, especially persuasive writing over the past few years.  I remember Finn getting so upset because he had to write a persuasive essay in P.E. and he couldn't for the life of him understand what in the world writing had to do with P.E.  But I think this letter demonstrates how well Annie has learned some persuasive writing techniques.  (For another example of Annie's former parent-guilt ridden literature please read here.  You will see how much she has progressed.)  But this writing includes some great parent-guilt inducing strategies.  She begins with the absolute of "my one and only..." to appeal to our emotional side. Then she moves into using "reason" to appeal to our intellectual side.  Then she plays the "I'm such a good kid" card (which she is by the way) to appeal to our responsible side.  Then she whams us with the teasing/"it makes me so mad" rationale to appeal to our parent guilt side.  Then she drives it home with the ubiquitous "It would make me very happy." to appeal to our "a dog is cheaper than therapy later on" side. 
All I can say is "Brava my little dog lobbyist, brava!"  Unfortunately the answer is still no.  And I think Annie sensed this because she is launching an all out media blitz.  Yesterday she performed her "All I Want for Christmas is a Puppy." piano piece written and composed by her and then today she handed me a sealed letter for Santa.  She must be appealing to a higher power!
So for anyone who might be worried that the public school system is failing their child, just say no to their "one and only desire" and see how many different ways they can come up with to convince you otherwise.
P.S.- If you happen to see Annie in the next little while, please don't say anything about this letter.  She thinks I am teasing her when I put things about her on my blog and though it may seem that way, I really am not.  I just think they are so cute I have to record them and I'm hoping she will be glad one day that I did.  Or else I will be paying for therapy or that "desirable little puppy"!