Thursday, September 07, 2006

I'm Rubbish

At one point I was hoping to make my name as the social anthropologist to make the study of 'anthropology of junk' fashionable. Yes, people will say at my funeral, 'She will be remembered for her rubbish.'

As a mother, though, how does one respond to a six-year-old who is convinced that he is 'rubbish'?

Son was clearly distressed when I picked him up yesterday. The Form was preparing for a football match against another school. My son isn't any good at kicking a ball. Offers to start him on lessons (like many of his classmates have done) were turned down. He was just not keen on football. The school requires him not only to play football, but in inter-school matches as well. He was not a happy bunny.

Today they were supposed to have a first football lesson with the Games Master (or whatever his title should be). I was dreading the tears that would greet me at the school gates.

We did think perhaps he should impress on the Games Master that he is utter rubbish and that would increase his chances of winning a 'Best Improved' award. 'But that would be cheating,' son insisted.

'But we don't expect you to be good at everything,' we tried telling him ... like for the ten thousandth time. No, that assurance has not sunk in.

So I waited for him to be dismissed today, having first walked past the sports hall to the uniform shop and catching a glimpse of him trying to keep the furthest away from the Games Master, it seemed.

As usual, he was in a hurry to walk home.

'Mum, hurry, I've got something very exciting to tell you.'

'What? That you are rubbish at football?' I said with a smile and in a tone that was supposed to convey disbelief, support, encouragement, etc, etc. I could tell from his tone, though, that he was being positive.

'No! I'm not rubbish! I even managed to get one past Mr B in our one-on-one.'


'I managed to get the ball right past Mr B. I am not rubbish!'

'Thank you, God,' I said. 'Thank you, Mr B,' I thought.

Then son went on to talk about how the best shot came immediately after him, from D who's also not very much into football. I was in fact swopping notes with D's mother this morning, worried that our sons with their 'sensitive soul' might be crushed in spirit by the end of the day.

Son went on, 'But D's shot was the best of all.' Apparently the biggest cheer was reserved for D whose effort caused their 'team' (ie the whole class of 21) to beat Mr B's team (ie himself).

I am absolutely delighted that Mr B has the wisdom to impart -- in this first lesson -- this confidence in my little boy and others like him who clearly do not have a natural knack for football.

Now my son thinks that he can beat the world at football. I hope his head does not swell too much.

Well done, Mr B!

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