Friday, September 9, 2011

Kid C gets Chastised for Being Violent

Hi Y'all! I'm back from Vegas, rested and recovered. I did, however, lose my new sunglasses. I guess what happens in Vegas really does stay in Vegas, because I bought the sunglasses on the strip.

Oh well, I'll tell you all about it next week.

So, I was going through Kid C's homework yesterday, and discovered he had to redo one of his assignments. The teacher had asked him to create a short story based on this prompt:

"Here's How to Get Rid of a Monster!"

Keep in mind Kid C has a cast on his right arm, so he's writing with his left, and that's why his handwriting is so bad. At least, that's what we tell ourselves.

I'll translate his story for you:

"Find a light place to sleep, and find a knife and stab it behind its back and scare the monster, then you put his lifeless body in the cold sea."





His teacher made him do it over again, with the instruction to "Rewrite with no VIOLENCE"

I understand that schools have a zero-tolerance policy regarding violence, and we whole-heartedly agree with this policy. We love our teacher and understand why she had to say something.

I do, however, have a problem with the assignment if you can't answer with violence. How else are you supposed to get rid of a monster?  I'm sorry, but if I were facing a monster, the last thing I would want is a hero who tries to kill it with kindness. Smother it with hugs. Slay it with butterflies and rainbows.

No, if I were facing a monster, I would want a hero who would find a light place to sleep (not sure how this tactic fits in with the whole thing), find a knife, stab it in the back and dump its limp, lifeless body in the cold sea.

Now if the question were, "How Do You Make Friends?" that would be different. I would not recommend this tactic. But in any other situation, I think Kid C's answer was perfect. 

If I incorporated this rule in my book, it would be a very different story. Of course, there is that one scene where the main character uses glitter to kill a dragon. 

What do you think?

30 comments:

  1. That's hilarious! I mean, it's a monster. You kind of expect at least some violence to go along with it, especially from grade school boys. Last year I typed up stories for my son's 2nd grade class and almost every boy story had swords, fighting, zombies, and/or epic battles.

    Maybe instead of glitter, you could use pollen and the dragon could sneeze itself to death. That's certainly what's happening to me right now if I make the grave mistake of leaving the house.

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  2. Jenilyn- I hear you on those allergies. If I could stab the allergies with a knife in the back, and then dump them in the cold sea, I would.

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  3. I think his answer was HILARIOUS and I agree with you, there are not really any nice ways to get rid of a monster (maybe swap the knife for a feather sword?). As for the sunglasses--it must be a Vegas thing. When we were there, a gust of wind blew my husband's sunglasses off his face at the Vegas airport. They blew several metres before smashing on the pavement. Awesome.

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  4. Jaime- I can't seem to not break/lose/smash sunglasses. They never last very long under my care!

    Anon- We are also very sensitive to any violence, especially bullying, so like I said, I definitely agree with the no-violence policy. But I assume a lot of the kids (boys especially) would have answered the same way. I would have answered the same way as a kid. And as an adult. And I turned out not to be a serial killer. As far as I know. :)

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  5. LOL! That made my day. Well, I'd certainly prefer to be with kid C if faced with a monster than with the dang teacher. ;)

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  6. We have no problem with the teacher saying what the teacher said. It is understandable.

    And fwiw, if a teacher or a boss or the leader of my church ever asks me how to get rid of a monster, I would probably respond with: Find a nuclear weapon, jam it down its throat, tie its legs with weights and drop into the cold dark ocean. Monsters are not our friends! We need to rid the earth of all monsters.

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  7. Sam- Think of the monsters! Who will speak for them? Who will be their voice? I assume monsters can't speak for themselves, because they snarl and drool so much...

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  8. Bother. Can I assume that the teacher is not a fan of realistic story constructs? 'Cause just about any answer to her question that DIDN'T involve violence would leave most readers with a huge suspension-of-disbelief problem.

    She's created a world where monsters are real. If they are nice, non-dangerous monsters, why are we trying to get rid of them? If they're just annoying, why are we calling them monsters? Why not just use an annoying fluffy bunny?

    To each story goal an appropriate antagonist.

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  9. Oh my gosh. This is hilarious! What an imagination Kid C has! Pretty sure he's taking after you! ;)
    And I agree. How else would you get rid of a monster?

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  10. Kid C is definitely your son. Weren't you chastised by a few editors/publishers for Echo being too violent? I completely agree with Kid C's answer. Like you said, how else are you supposed to get rid of a monster? Did you talk to the teacher about it and express your concerns? This is one time when keeping your head in the sand is bad. (Okay, it's never good, but you got the drift ... I hope.)

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  11. Chantele- His imagination is pretty awesome. I would love to see the world through his eyes.

    Jenni- Echo was totally dissed as "too violent"! But the violence was against aliens. That's okay, right? Or maybe my world view is skewed. :)

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  12. i am so laughing at her note. you can just SEE how "stern" her reprimand is in the structure of her writing. and i agree with you, all monsters need to die in violent ways. the more violent the better if you want my opinion.

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  13. Dorien- I know. I love her comment!

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  14. Poor kid, being chastised for creativity. :) It does seem an odd question, though. I mean, how else would you get rid of a monster?

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  15. Shallee- Exactly. Now, if the assignment were "how to get rid of a butterfly", I can see Kid C's answer as being a little over the top.

    Then again, that would be a really weird assignment.

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  16. No, definitely not a good way to make friends. =D

    But what about killing creativity. Or do we want to avoid violent creativity? Hmmm

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  17. LOL! I'm not sure I have anything else to add to what you said already.

    But that is SO funny!

    But if he's smart, he'd have throw the monster into a HOT sea. Bodies disintegrate faster that way. LOL!

    I bet the teacher learned her lesson as well.

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  18. You get rid of a monster by making it redo its homework, of course. It'll run screaming down the street to hide in someone else's closet. :p

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  19. Shelly- Or hot lava! That would be even better.

    Tina- For sure that re-doing homework would make me shudder. That tactic should be a weapon of mass destruction. :)

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  20. Monsters are inherently violent to kids. It's like asking a baby seal how they would get rid of a shark. I doubt they would want to hug it and make friends.

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  21. Michael- Exactly! That is a very apt analogy. :)

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  22. This is so classic! I love the last part, "cold sea." What a poet!

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  23. Well! Lol. How else would you get rid of a monster? Seriously! I love the cold sea bit, too. I think that shows great problem solving skills. Loved this!

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  24. Okay...so when the chipmunk was a couple of years younger, she swore there was a monster in the closet. No, we did not pretend to go make peace with the monster, appease it with cookies or give it a gentle nudge and kiss so it would leave. I empowered the chipmunk to take control and told her to beat the daylights out of that monster...and I stood there with her helping. Yes, it is okay to laugh as you imagine a grown woman and a little girl kicking and attacking a shadowy, empty corner. It's okay. She slept well that night.

    So, like you, I understand what was intended, but they should have tried something better than "How do you get rid of a monster"

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  25. That question's kind of a set up. Of course I can think of a "politically correct" answer, but how are kids supposed to do that? (and if a kid does think that way, I'm a little worried about the kid).

    My answer probably would have gotten me sent to the principals office, lol.

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  26. I'd like a signed copy of his book when it comes out, please!

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  27. When are parent-teacher conferences? This one needs to be addressed. I think it was well-written, and perfectly appropriate!

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