Always Real, Antique Embarrassment

A Big Conversation

We have a number of friends who home school their children and one of the traits that AD and I have observed in these kiddos that we admire is their comfort and poise in speaking with adults.  We are impressed with how they look us in the eye when speaking to us, how they speak in complete sentences, how they thoughtfully and appropriately engage us in conversation, both contributing and inquiring.   

Of course it would be a gross over-generalization to attribute this solely to homeschooling but that seems to be the common denominator in our limited experience.  It could just be that our friends have terrific kids. 

Most kids – and I’m sure yours is an exception – will answer in choppy one or two-word sentences when engaged by an adult and then look around nervously for an escape hatch. 

All that to say, we have been working with Sean to help him to become a comfortable conversationalist.  We think it is a valuable life skill, one that we want him to develop.  For some kids this may come easily, for others, like mine, it will require some practice.

So the other day, we were driving up to Tuna to see some of our relatives, whom we don’t see often enough, and we were preparing him to greet his great aunts and uncles and so we were role playing as a way to practice.

Me:  Ok Sean, let’s pretend I am Aunt Doris.  And I say something like, ‘Why hello Sean.  You sure are getting big!’ – What would you say to Aunt Doris? 

Sean:  You are too! 

On second thought, maybe it would be better if he just said “Yup” and then hid behind my skirt. 

Disclaimer:  Doris is NOT big, we don’t think Doris is big, no one at our house has ever said Doris and Big in the same sentence, ever, not once.

21 thoughts on “A Big Conversation

  1. Your children can make you wish you hadn’t encouraged them to learn to talk. Am sure Aunt Doris has had her own children mis-speak too.

  2. Well hello there! 🙂 I thought you had gotten lost. Sean’s answer made me giggle and i’m sure when Aunt Doris reads this she will too.

    I’d be just like Sean and he’s what? 6/7. I’m not comfortable around people I don’t see much and rarely say a word or two. I’ve often found the escape hatch so to speak or my sister’s skirts to hide behind.

    At the funeral home or a family reunion *which happens to be the same place at times* I find a lone chair, park myself until the rest of my family are ready to leave. I’ve decided that if anyone wants to talk to me I am at least easily found. ha.

    Now our son? He has never in all of his 37-yrs. met a stranger. He did not get that from either my hubby or myself. He is a people person and loves to talk no matter if they are 9 or 90. I’m so glad, too. Because I would have been a major failure at teaching him the skills to communicate.

    Happy you’re back!

  3. As always, your blog post put a smile on my face. As a homeschooling mommy of many, I appreciated the kind comments you made about homeschooled kids. I hate the mommy wars about educating kids, and I think you spoke well on the subject.

    One of the reasons I enjoy reading your blog is because you are an intentional parent, you think about the skills you want to develop in your son and how to facilitate growth.

    Plus, I just loved hearing what your son says! He is always good for a laugh or two.

  4. 🙂 I love this post., My son isn’t home schooled, but he does have this “type of conversation” down pat… Recently~ I had him talk on the phone to my Dad…it was his birthday– I let Shane take the cell phone and talk– the next thing I know I hear the toilet flush.. YIKES… my son used the bathroom WHILE on the phone, MY CELL phone with Grandpa… color me embarrassed, But when I finally wiped off the phone and talked with Grandpa he said he had no clue what Shane had done. Geez.

  5. Something that worked for us in helping our kids become comfortable in conversaton was ordering at restaurants. When they were 4 or 5, we started having them order for themselves. We prompted them by saying “when it’s your turn, look at our server’s eyes and say I’d like….please.”

    We really encouraged eye contact when they spoke with people. We also taught them to hold out their hand to shake hands, when greeting somebody, and even take a step forward to show confidence and interest.

    It is a great gift to teach your children to be comfortable with people of all ages – a great confidence booster.

    * * *

    I need to install some sort of “like” button on my comments. Anyone know how to do that?

  6. Boys at this age are so, so funny. Shortly after Christmas, I was teaching my 10-year-old how to write a proper thank you note, but first we had to go through the 80 things you *shouldn’t* say in the note. Man, we laughed. (“Thanks for the gift card. Too bad it was half the amount my other grandparents gave me.”)

    * * *
    hee hee! fanning the flames of the grandma wars – not good form but not a bad strategy.

  7. So funny! Aren’t you glad you practiced? 😉

    We never had to worry about if our kids would talk to adults, more about what they would say. Many, many times we’ve heard back from others about things our charmers have shared. Overshared, I should clarify.

  8. Mostly, kids behave as they are taught to behave. Home-schooled kids are probably around adults on-on-one than most public-school kids, and if those adults are mannerly, the kids see good behavior modeled daily. Good for you for intentionally teaching him how you want him to interact with adults.

  9. I am part of a community of home schoolers, and I will vouch for the willingness of most of the children to participate in respectful conversation with most anyone. That said, it does depend on personality also, and on the teaching of the parents/how the parents are themselves. Home schooled children do generally have more contact with adults in situations where they can comfortably converse, and certainly with other kids of all ages.

    Sean is hilarious as always and I’m sure you will enable him to have satisfactory interactions with adults. 🙂

  10. Hi Antique Mommy,
    Last night I wandered around your blog for a time and reread the story of how you became a Mom at age 44. While reading your story, I thought of my brother who last year also suddenly lost his partner (on December 14th, 2010). My brother was also 34. It’s been an incredibly difficult year for him. I was wondering if you would consider communicating with him. He has gone through one group grief counseling session (a few meetings), but he said that he was, by far, the youngest member of the group. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, but if you wouldn’t mind emailing him, I could send you his address.

    Karla Germaine

  11. I was unprepared for the punch line. I was awaiting the perfect bow on the top of the sage blog post that is your forte. . .but as I sat here laughing, and laughing, and laughing. . .I remembered that humor is ALSO your forte. Seriously, Tina. And, oh, how I’ve missed you.

  12. This is how it actually went down:
    Me: ‘Sean, my it has been so long since I have seen you I don’t know if we should shake hands or hug! What do you prefer?’
    Sean: ‘It doesn’t matter.’
    Me: ‘Then if you don’t mind I would prefer a hug.’
    Sean: ‘O.K.’
    Hopefully that was not my last hug!?

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